Jerry “Wiggy” Wigutow takes pride in making sleeping bags in Grand Junction, where he employs more than 30 people in his factory.
“If you buy our product, the Wiggy’s name comes on it. That means it’s our reputation and my name on the line,” he says on his web page.
For years, whenever my family has gone camping, we’ve taken Wiggy’s bags, and Wiggy (also a friend of my dad for years) has never let us down.
But now Colorado politicians may let down Wiggy and countless other small business owners by imposing punishing sales tax rules that are extremely costly and burdensome.
Wiggy says that, assuming the new rules come online (as soon as April 1), he will no longer ship bags to anyone in Colorado outside of the Grand Junction area. “If you’re in Denver and you want a Wiggy product, you have to come here to buy it, or you have to get someone to buy it for you,” he said.
Wiggy explained in a Dec. 18 post, “The state of Colorado wrote to all retailers that we would have to start collecting local taxes when selling and shipping product to any city or county in the state. The number of cities that have their own tax assessment is vast. … We would have to keep records of sales to each town or city and collect taxes for those locations and each quarter send a report and a check. … I would have to pay for someone to keep these records; easily $400 to $500 per week.”
Under the old rules, a Colorado business that shipped a product in state had to collect sales taxes only for the tax regions that overlapped between buyer and seller. In other words, if you shipped from Denver to Denver, you had to collect all of the relevant sales taxes for Denver. If you shipped from Colorado Springs to Denver, you had to collect only the taxes that both areas have in common, the state rate. (Jon Kamm offers details.)
The old rules are bad enough. Years ago I got a sales tax license so I could sell copies of my books via mail. The paperwork was such a hassle that I quickly abandoned selling on my own and now sell most everything through a giant corporation, Amazon, which has the resources to handle the bureaucracy.
The new rules are vastly worse. A business has to collect sales taxes based on where the good is shipped. The problem is that there are so many different governments that collect sales taxes that complying is a bureaucratic nightmare.
The board voted 3-0 that the proposal violated the single subject rule and the board did not have jurisdiction to set a ballot title.
Proponents Carol Hedges and Steve Briggs had an initial hearing before the Title Board at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. Although voters several years ago passed new rules that make adding an amendment to Colorado’s constitution harder, it still only takes a simple majority to repeal an amendment.
Blouder attorney Edward Ramey, who represented the proponents, said the proposal was to do “one thing and one thing only.”
“That’s to repeal Article X, Section 20 of the Constitution,” Ramey told the board. “I emphasize that because we’re not adding anything to it. We’re not trying to tweak anything. We’re not repealing and ellipsis doing anything. This is just a straight repeal.”
Ramey said the single subject debate keeps coming up because the consensus is TABOR itself contains more than one subject, but he disagreed with those findings. He cited a couple of Colorado Supreme Court rulings that addressed the subject in a manner that he believed favored his clients in this case.
One is from 1996 that repealed TABOR but then re-enacted pieces of it. The Court then ruled 4-3 that it violated the single subject rule. However, Ramey said a concurring opinion by the minority is critical to his clients’ proposal today.
Soon to be Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey said then in her dissent from the ruling that the threshold question was not addressed by the majority in their opinion. That question was “whether the single subject requirement applies to an appeal.”
“The thrust of her entire discussion that two other justices concurred with, and the four did not comment upon was if we’re doing nothing but a straight repeal, it would not violate the single subject requirement,” Ramey said.
He said all cases that he was aware of all wanted to do something more, rather than just a straight repeal.
“They do something additional, which is what triggers the single subject issue,” Ramey said. “Not once, to my knowledge, has the court ever decided the question of whether a straight repeal would or would not violate the single subject requirement.”
Ramey stated the single subject in repealing TABOR would read: “Removing impediments to the legislature’s and local governments’ ability to determine fiscal policy.”
Board member Jason Gelender, who represents the Office of Legislative Legal Services, pointed out that the Colorado Supreme Court had ruled unanimously in another case that TABOR was not subject to the single subject rule and, therefore, contained multiple subjects when voters passed it.
“We are bound … to apply judicial decisions as we have them,” Gelender said. “I’m hard pressed to find that this judicial decision, the majority in (Ramey’s example) and the previous decision (in Gelender’s example) don’t control this and say that we do not have jurisdiction to set a title on this.”
Board member LeeAnn Morrill, who represented the Attorney General’s office, cited yet another example of a Supreme Court decision in a 2002 proposal that included a provision that asked to prevent the complete repeal of TABOR. She pointed out that the court stated in its decision:
“Moreover, an amendment to the Colorado Constitution which prevents the repeal of TABOR, itself, constitutes multiple subjects … TABOR contains multiple subjects … If a constitutional provision contains multiple subjects, and an initiative proposes to repeal the entire underlying provision, then the initiative contains multiple subjects.”
Ramey said it was likely his clients would file for a rehearing, which is due in seven days.
Michael Fields, Executive Director of Colorado Rising Action, said he was pleased the board voted unanimously against the proposal.
“Thankfully this outrageous attempt to repeal the people’s right to vote on tax increases has been stopped in its tracks,” Fields said. “But the battle isn’t over. Even though the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights is more popular than ever in Colorado, we know that liberal groups want government to have a blank check to enact their extreme programs and they’ll continue to attempt to circumvent the law.”
State Rep. Jeff Bridges, a Greenwood Village Democrat, was selected Saturday by a Democratic vacancy committee to replace the departing state Sen. Daniel Kagan, D-Cherry Hills Village.
Kagan announced last month he would resign his Senate District 26 seat effective Jan. 11. He participated in opening day festivities Friday at the State Capitol as the 2019 General Assembly convened.
Bridges won election to his second term representing House District 3 in November. He was appointed to serve the two years remaining in Kagan's term and can run for two full Senate terms after that.
Bridges prevailed on the first ballot over three other candidates with 70 percent of the vote.
The others who sought the vacancy appointment were Iman Jodeh, who runs a nonprofit and would have become the first muslim Coloradan to serve in the Legislature; author Angela Engel; and Littleton City Councilman Kyle Schlachter.
State Democrat party chair Morgan Carroll congratulated Bridges. "He’s been an excellent representative of his district for the past two years,
"I also want to thank Daniel Kagan for his decade of serving the people of Colorado. The people of Colorado will miss his thoughtful and analytic approach in the General Assembly, and his command of the issues and the law will be sorely missed in the lawmaking process."
It has been a week for musical chairs at the General Assembly. On Thursday, Cathy Kipp, a member of the Poudre School District board of directors, was selected by a Democrat House District 52 vacancy committee to replace former state Rep. Joann Ginal, D-Fort Collins, who was selected to replace outgoing Sen. John Kefalas of Fort Collins in Larimer County's Senate District 14. Kefalas was elected to the Larimer County Board of County Commissioners in November.
Carroll said Saturday: “Considering that many refer to the 2018 election as the ‘Year of the Woman’, it is only fitting that Fort Collins will now be represented completely by Democrat women in the General Assembly. I know Cathy has a strong record of public service, most recently serving as a Poudre School District board member, and I am confident she will continue to serve Larimer County well in the General Assembly."
In one of the more dramatic endings during the last legislative session, a bill aimed at putting Colorado at the forefront of blockchain policy passed by a single vote. But, moments later, it failed after some lawmakers changed their minds.
The words blockchain and cryptocurrency often cause eyes to glaze and confusion to abound. And this new technology hasn’t been helped by fraud and cryptocurrency values that skyrocketed then plunged. But for proponents, such technology — aimed at building a more secure internet — is still worth figuring out. That’s why a revamped bill is expected to be introduced Friday by one of the same co-sponsors, Sen. Jack Tate, R-Centennial.
“We had a broad approach (in the bill) last year without any stakeholder input,” said Tate, who spent the past six months learning from local blockchain and finance companies, hearing from state regulators and working with politicians from both parties — a process done in the past for issues such as liquor and marijuana laws.
“What is different with having the programmatic approach is that it’s a narrow, nascent technology versus dealing with an established industry like alcohol. All the big players (from the alcohol industry) were there, and it was more like a showdown at Gucci Gulch,” Tate said. “Here, (blockchain) is a nascent technology dealing with a framework meant for other things. How do we update the regulatory framework now that we know there’s innovation out there? We don’t want to stifle innovation.”
DENVER — Campaign finance complaints against two newly elected Democrat State Senators will move forward according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s (SOS) office.
Some of the accusations were dismissed, however, as they fell outside the statute of limitations, according to the findings.
Faith Winter and Tammy Story were notified on Wednesday that the complaint alleging they failed to accurately report campaign contributions, accepted coordinated contributions via a conduit, and violated contribution limits would move forward.
Neither Winter nor Story returned requests from Complete Colorado for comment. In the ruling, campaign finance manager for the Secretary of State’s (SOS) office Stephen Bouey said:
“The elections division finds that complainant alleged some potential violations of Colorado campaign finance law. The elections division will conduct additional review of the remaining allegations within 30 days to determine whether to file a complaint with a hearing officer.”
The complaints were filed by Matt Arnold, director of Denver-based Campaign Integrity Watchdog.
Something seems a bit incongruent about the Blue Wave that hit Colorado on election day and swept Democrats into every corner of Colorado state government. The very same voters who voted like Californians when it came to candidates, voted like Coloradans when it came to issues.
They voted down a progressive income tax plan for “education.” They killed a statewide sales tax and debt increase for roads and transit. They rejected a ban on fracking.
So, on one hand they voted for hard-edged progressives, including the freshman lady legislators who this week made clear they don’t want to be called “freshMAN” because they say it’s sexist (one of their first bills is to rename “manhole cover” to “person-hole cover”). On the other hand, they voted for fiscal restraint.
One reason for this seeming dichotomy might be that we voters expect to be asked, directly at the ballot box, on the important issues. Coloradans are becoming more socially liberal, and comfortable voting for liberals, knowing that big questions of tax, debt, and constitutional changes must first be run by us. It’s why the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) remains so popular even after a quarter century assault from the taxation-without-consent crowd.
We also know that we can override lawmakers via our citizen’s initiative. We the people have no problem doing what our elected officials refuse to do. It was the people of Colorado, not the legislature, who directly gave women the right to vote, legalized marijuana, limited terms of office, passed transparency laws and demanded TABOR.
But there is another mechanism for direct control over the legislature, although it hasn’t been used since 1932.
We the people of Colorado also have the right to veto any bill the legislature passes into law.
Someone over at The Nib has a lengthy explanation of why public transit is crumbling. Apparently, it’s due mainly to the Koch Brothers and myself. While it would have been more realistic picturing me on a bicycle than behind the wheel of a car, I am nonetheless flattered; yet the reality is a little bit more complicated.
The article — okay, it’s a web comic — suggests that transit can somehow transform cities into clean, healthy, crime-free paradises. Light-rail lines, the authors suggest, fall short of this dream because they generally don’t have a dedicated right of way and therefore “aren’t fast or reliable and don’t carry enough passengers to reduce traffic.” Thus, they explicitly endorse “rapid transit,” meaning bus or rail lines that have their own dedicated rights of way.
While transit had an impact on American cities before the automobile became ubiquitous and more recently has had similar impacts on cities in developing countries that still have low rates of auto ownership, there’s little evidence that dedicated transit lines can transform auto-oriented cities. Indeed, heavy investments in transit have had negligible effects on cities other than by increasing the tax burden on their citizens.
It’s time once again for those year-end lists when people rate everything from sports to literature. When it comes to politics and the bizarre notions from today’s Left, there is an embarrassment of riches from which to choose. Some of these ideas have hung around from the previous year and earlier because they haven’t been mocked and derided successfully by weak and wobbly Republicans.
Since Democrats had no federal legislative power in 2018, it was a banner year for advancing liberal language and cultural concepts. Make no mistake, whenever Democrats work to change our language today, it’s only the first step in their mission to change our policies tomorrow. Now that they are set to take control of the US House of Representatives, look for them to roll out those policies one after another.
Case in point: Jack Phillips of the Masterpiece Cake Shop is being persecuted because in 1992, voters thought it was kind to include “LGBT” in the list of groups protected by civil rights legislation. Even after unelected bureaucrats on the “Colorado Civil Rights Division” (CCRD) lost their case in the Supreme Court, they still believe they should have the authority to force Phillips to create a custom cake to celebrate a gender transition or be driven out of business.
You have to give the Left credit. They never act like they’re in the minority even when they are. Don’t you wish Republicans would take a lesson from them and act like they’re in the majority when they actually are?
Liberals regularly employ humor, mockery and derision with spectacular success while Republicans generally have an aversion to such tactics. In 2019, I hope more Republicans will plant and nurture their sense of humor and start putting the Left’s anti-reality ideas back where they belong—into the dustbin of spoof and sarcasm.
So without further ado, here are my favorite liberal nonsensical notions of 2018. Let the mockery begin!
10. “Gender Fluidity”
The Left has mounted a massive attack on basic gender reality. After mocking Republicans for being “anti-Science” on “climate change” they are celebrating their denial of X and Y chromosomes. On Colorado birth certificates, there are now four gender options to choose from: male, female, X and intersex. In Britain, children as young as 8 years old are being taught that boys can have periods too. "Transitions” from male to female are more celebrated than the reverse. What’s this all about? Let’s chalk it up to garden-variety misandry (hatred of men) and we’ll save more analysis for the New Year.
9. “Criticism of the media is an attack on the 1st Amendment.”
Jim Acosta actually declared that it was a threat to our 1st Amendment when President Trump exercised his 1st Amendment right to criticize them.
DENVER -- It's officially being called "Masterpiece 2," but unlike a sequel to a movie, this case has the real potential to set precedent for gay rights and religious freedom.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of baker Jack Phillips, who owns Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood. Phillips had refused to make a wedding cake for a Denver gay couple in 2012.
However, legal experts say the high court's narrow ruling didn't make clear what Phillips could say "no" to going forward.
Now, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission is again alleging Phillips acted improperly -- this time, regarding his refusal to deny a transgender woman a "transition-themed" cake.
Phillips has sued Governor John Hickenlooper and the Civil Rights Commission requesting he be allowed to exercise his religious rights.
The state, however, argues this case is different from the previous, saying it's a different standard and a different type of cake.
Colorado officials [finally found a willing plaintiff,] Autumn Scardina, the 'transgender' woman involved, claiming that 'all' she wanted was to have a pink cake with blue frosting. [Quotes mine — ed.] That is a type of cake Phillips has made for years. It was allegedly only after Phillips realized it was for a "transition" that he refused to make it.
"If you make product 1 for customer 1, you must make product 1 for customer 2," LeeAnn Morrill, First Assistant Attorney General, [announced] in court Tuesday.
Phillips' attorneys continues to say the state is treating Masterpiece Cakeshop unfairly — in direct contradiction to the Supreme Court ruling.
“The commission has made clear that it is intent on punishing Jack Phillips. Other cake artists are allowed to decline messages that they don’t want to communicate, but when Mr. Phillips does it, they come after him,” Jim Campbell, an attorney for Phillips, said.
Judge Wiley Daniel indicated Tuesday he would deny a motion to dismiss asked for by the state.
Judge Daniel also indicated he would deny Phillips’ request for a preliminary injunction over grounds it was too broad, advising counsel they should re-file.