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On October 28, 2014, the Independence Institute held a debate at the Denver Post building on whether there is a war on women in Colorado. On the “no” side we had Kelly Maher and Laura Carno. For the “yes” side we had Susan Greene and Laura Chapin.

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NRA Magazine- Election Issues

NRA Magazine

October 30, 2014
The 2013 Colorado recalls were all about politicians overreaching on gun control. It was a response to just one more example of people like Michael Bloomberg using their vast fortunes to tell the rest of us how we must behave. When Bloomberg forces restrictions on salt, sodas and trans-fats, it’s annoying. But when he proposes gun restrictions that make me less safe, it is incredibly disrespectful to all women. A billionaire who hires armed security to protect him dares to tell me how many rounds I can have in my magazine! Ordinary Colorado citizens organized the recalls, knocked on doors, called their neighbors and flocked to the polls. Despite $350,000 of Bloomberg money being spent against the recall efforts, we successfully recalled two sitting state Senators and forced another to resign, showing Bloomberg that the voters couldn’t be bought.

Bloomberg Can Be Beat Because Our Votes Can’t Be Bought.

This is a direct excerpt from the full NRA  Magazine, click here to see the magazine.

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See the original video here.

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El Paso Ballot Question 1B: A Dishonest Tax Increase

The Jeff Crank Show
By Jeff Crank
October 14, 2014
El Paso County Ballot Question 1B is nothing more than a dishonest attempt to fool voters.  Its shameful deception rises to the level of the misleading term-limits language of a few years ago.  If you remember the term limits language which implied that a yes vote “limited” terms when it actually extended them then question 1B this year might ring a bell.  1B imposes a tax of $92.40 per year on the average household in El Paso County for the next 20 years and beyond.  That is a minimum tax increase of $1,848 per property- and likely much higher.  However, you wouldn’t know these facts just by reading the ballot language.
Pretty harsh to say it is deceptive, but the facts leave little doubt.  First, the language calls the tax a “fee”.  Why? If they called it a tax, the Colorado Constitution would require the ballot language to start out by saying “shall taxes be increased by $39,275,650 for 2016 and each year after for 20 years.”  By cleverly calling the tax a “fee”, they can now start the language with “Are you in favor of funding emergency needs caused by flooding…”.  It was worded this way to enhance the ability to get it passed but it is nothing more than a way to trick you into believing that the money coming out of your pocket is a “fee” and not actually a tax.  After all, it is on your property TAX bill.
The sleight of hand continues.  Rather than being honest about how much you’re going to pay each year, they broke the amount down per month.  They could have simply said that it would cost the average homeowner $1,848 over the next twenty years.  Instead, they broke the amount down by month – to $7.70 per month.  Why not just give us the full monty and break it down to the day, hour or second? By the way, if you do the math, it is just over a penny per hour tax increase.
Question 1B also creates a brand new government bureaucracy and then exempts it from the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights provisions of the Colorado Constitution.  In other words, it creates a bureaucracy and then allows that bureaucracy to vote to extend the tax (that they call a fee) without ever going to the citizens for a vote of the people.
As Mayor Steve Bach, who strongly opposes 1B, stated, “the new $92.40 storm water fee is about the same amount the average residential property owner now pays for all City services combined.”  That’s right, you’ll pay as much property tax for storm water as you do for police, fire, snow removal, street repair, parks, arts, etc.  Imagine this new unaccountable bureaucracy getting as much property tax as the city of Colorado Springs, never having to face an election and having the ability to increase the tax at their whim and without voter approval.
If this tax increase of $785 million over twenty years weren’t offensive enough the audacity of the language should convince any citizen to vote no.  The drafters of the language trying to pull the wool over voters eyes by calling a tax a “fee”; reducing the yearly tax amount to make it appear smaller; and thumbing their nose at the voters by taking away the right to vote on tax increases make this as deceptive and misleading as any ballot language we’ve ever seen.

Our storm water problem is real and it should be addressed but Question 1B is not the answer.  I hope you’ll join Mayor Steve Bach, myself and many other community leaders in voting no.

Original post here.

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Colorado’s State-Wide Ballot Amendments – What is the Proper Role of Government?

Colorado’s State-Wide Ballot Amendments – What is the Proper Role of Government?
Laura Carno
By Laura Carno
October 14,  2014
Following are my opinions on the state-wide ballot initiatives in Colorado from my perspective about whether or not they are actually the proper role of government.  Feel free to reach out if you have questions about your local ballot issues.Amendment 67 – Definition of Person and Child

The marketing for Amendment 67 would have you believe that it exists solely to gain equal rights in wrongful death situations.  If implemented however, it would effectively ban most forms of birth control, and cause legal issues for women who miscarry or participate in many forms of infertility treatments.  The pro-life activist community is not universally behind the Personhood effort. In 2008, Colorado’s Amendment 48, the first attempt at a Personhood Amendment in Colorado, was defeated at the ballot box 73-27. When a similar bill made its way through the Colorado State Legislature in 2014, even the Catholic Archbishop of Denver urged people to act to stop the bill.  It failed.  This Amendment creates more intrusion in to women’s lives, and makes government larger and more powerful.  I will be voting NO.

Amendment 68 – Horse Racetrack Casino Gambling

The marketing for Amendment 68 is “for the children.”  It purports to be raising money for schools.  Who isn’t for good schools?  If this passes, it would allow casino style gambling at 3 Colorado horse racetracks (one existing horse racetrack and two still to be developed), and would create an additional tax to produce millions more in revenue to the state.  Ordinarily, I would support a business owner’s right to determine what should happen at his or her business.  But, I have a couple of issues with this Amendment.  First, voters in the areas where these casinos might open should have the ability to make this decision for their community, adding a local control element to the discussion.  None of these proposed casinos would impact my area.  Why should I get a say?  Second, creating new taxes simply adds to the amount of money the State government has to spend, and generally speaking, government does not spend money well.  When we “starve the beast”, they have less money with which to harm citizens. I will be voting NO.

Amendment 104 – School Board Meeting Requirements

This Amendment requires that when school boards meet with unions for the purpose of collective bargaining, that these meetings will be conducted in public.  When this idea has previously been brought before the Colorado state legislature, it has been killed on a party line vote. Not surprisingly, the teachers’ union is funding the opposition to Amendment 104.  The government belongs to us, and the citizens are owed transparency in negotiations that involve taxpayer dollars.  For more history on this effort, see this Denver Post op-ed by former State Representative B.J. Nikkel, a great advocate of government transparency. I will be voting YES.

Amendment 105 – Labeling Genetically Modified Food

This Amendment would require labeling of food products containing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), with many exceptions.  The history of GMOs is a complicated debate.  While I can appreciate the viewpoint of those who don’t want to consume GMOs, I am also aware of the positive uses.  In poor parts of the world for example, GMO’s are starting to be used to infuse crops with specific nutrients, thereby saving millions who would otherwise die of malnutrition.  Ultimately, I come down on the side of voluntary actions instead of the force of government.  Food products that do not include GMOs are free to label their products (as many do today) as GMO free.  Consumers would then be free to choose what they buy, and apply pressure to companies to label their food products.  Although there are many more complexities covering the exceptions, ingredients, etc., it is simply not the proper role of government to force businesses to jump through regulatory hoops and add cost to their process.  I will be voting NO.

See the original post by here.

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Right to an abortion is not in jeopardy

September 20, 2014

The Denver Post

By Laura Carno

Democrats seem intent on making this election about choice. What else explains the barrage of ads in the Colorado U.S. Senate race with the false narrative that a woman’s right to get a legal abortion is in jeopardy?

Since the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision, Roe vs. Wade has “survived” the pro-life presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.

Despite the steadfastness of the law, the incidence of abortion is at its lowest point since 1973.

The many good works of the pro-life movement such as privately funded centers that support young pregnant women as an alternative to abortion have effectively lowered the tide of abortion.

Yet, a deafening barrage of political commercials is now telling women their reproductive rights are in danger. Let’s be clear: They aren’t.

The false “your reproductive rights are in danger” narrative is a tactic “pro-choice” Democrats have embraced for decades to persuade women to vote for Democrats over Republicans. I would argue that a woman who thinks she is voting “pro-choice” should examine what those choices are.

Voting for a Democrat who is billed as pro-choice is also a vote for someone who does not support a woman’s right to choose her own doctor or health plan. It is a vote for someone who likely doesn’t support a woman’s right to choose her own form of self-defense.

The good news in this is that we haven’t given up the right to make our own choices about who to vote for.

The option for a woman to choose a legal abortion is only one issue out of many. And since that option is not likely in jeopardy, look at the other choices that are important to you and your family, including health care, take-home pay and your family’s safety.

See the original post here.

 

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Long Live the Incumbents!

ByIan J. Roy

In politics, there’s nothing worse than a coordinated political ploy just before an election.

In this particular case, Senate Democrats didn’t stop at just the usual controversial bill; they introduced a dead-end Amendment to the United States Constitution to rile up their party’s base. The unfortunate and shocking aspect is that the Amendment would’ve effectively gutted free speech in the name of protecting incumbent politicians.

Of course this isn’t how the bill is being sold to the tens of millions of voters on partisan e-mailing and fundraising lists however. With the “War on Women” narrative losing traction and almost every poll and prediction coming out saying that Democrats will likely lose control of the Senate in 2014, party leaders will now harp on an old rallying cry, overturning the Citizens United decision.

If you don’t recall, Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission involved a documentary filmmaker’s non-profit organization being forbidden from making a Pay-Per-View film about Hillary Clinton just months before the elections in 2008. This was due to the McCain-Feingold law, which banned corporations, non-profit issue organizations and unions from speaking ill of any Federal candidates within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election.

Now, you might say wait a minute… Isn’t 30-60 days before an election normally around the time that every citizen starts looking into whom they might vote for?

You’d be precisely correct.

The fact is that most Americans are too busy working full-time jobs, secondary jobs, raising families, and trying to enjoy a few moments of life during the rest of the year. Unless you’re a political junkie, you only start paying attention to races when they get down to the wire. What McCain-Feingold did, and what Udall’s S.J. Resolution 19 would have done, is ensure that just as we begin to pay attention, the only people telling us how to vote is the incumbents with their built-up war chests of cash.

“Congress and the States may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.”

The sentiment behind the law is understandable. What society would want only the richest of their members deciding whom our lawmakers will be? The knee-jerk urge is for arbitrary restrictions to be placed to try to obstruct the influence of the rich. What supporters of these proposals don’t understand is that dark money and mega-donors will ALWAYS find a way to their preferred politicians.

The most powerful players, from George Soros to Michael Bloomberg to Charles Koch, all have armies of lawyers, political connections and loosely associated organizations figuring out how to navigate campaign finance laws. Think of it in economic terms. When mountains of regulations are laid at the feet of business and industry, who is better positioned to come out on top? Is it the small companies struggling to survive or the giant corporations with million dollar legal teams?

The big and politically connected corporations will always weather the storm. They stand to be even better off in the aftermath, once their small-time competition is removed from the picture. This is exactly the power shift that we will face in elections if the goals of this Amendment are given serious consideration.

The more grassroots organizations that we take pride in supporting and identifying with will be the ones that will be shut up by this law, not the rich. Whether you are a member of the NRA, Greenpeace, a labor union such as SEIU, the National Taxpayers Union, or a civil liberties organization such as the ACLU or FreedomWorks, your issues and grievances will be silenced just when they need to be echoed the loudest. This law limits the marketplace of voices at election time to one, that of the powerful and wealthy incumbent.

You might ask, isn’t that the case now? As an individual who works for a small, 2-person, state based organization, I can tell you that we still have power in this system. I spend much of my time processing $10, $25, even $2 donations from countless supporters who simply want us to change the narrative being shoved down their throats by incumbent politicians and party bosses. We use minimal resources to speak to voters in a direct and down to Earth manner about what’s affecting their lives. Keeping our organization off of the TV and radio waves would simply silence the small-town voters that we help to represent.

You would think that with 15 of the top 20 big money donors from 1989-2014 being strongly Democratic leaning (including Goldman Sachs), and with the boogie men at Koch Industries only coming in at #58, the left would be a bit more cautious to use this as a partisan issue. In fact, if billionaires and millionaires can so easily purchase elections, why don’t we have a President Romney, a Governor Meg Whitman out in California or debates on President Perot’s reforms in the 90’s? Why did a freshman Senator from Chicago defeat the Clinton Empire in a ruthless primary campaign?

The truth is that American’s can smell a billionaire rat better than Senate Democrats and Senator McCain give them credit for. Manipulation of economic grievances is no reason to throw away free speech rights. When government stops picking winners and losers and inserting itself into every crevice of the economy, there will be far fewer billionaires inserting their check books into buying politicians and legislation. That is how we fix the problem, not by giving Harry Reid and John Boehner the power to decide who can speak to us before we vote.

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GUEST COLUMN: Health Care Needs More Innovation, Not More Government

August 8, 2014

Free The Future

By Geoff Wilson and Wesley Coopersmith

So much for Obamacare making health insurance more affordable – analysts have firmly established that insurance premiums, especially for young Americans, are rising. Obamacare will increase the cost of premiums by an average of 44 percent for young females and 91 percent for young males.

Obamacare has expanded government intervention into health care but done nothing to reduce the costs, leaving young people in quite a bind. What can be done to fix this problem and make health insurance more affordable for everyone?

Proponents of government-run health care claim that intervention into America’s health care system is necessary because the free market doesn’t provide quality and affordable care on its own. These same proponents neglect to mention that government intervention has long distorted the health care marketplace pre-Obamacare.

Instead of more of the same, let’s reduce overzealous regulation of the health care marketplace to create more competition, innovation, and choice for all Americans.

When numerous companies have to compete with one another to win our business, they are incentivized to provide their goods or services for the lowest possible price at the highest possible quality. Decreasing regulation allows more businesses and products to make it to the marketplace and thus gives the consumer more options.

Unfortunately, the president’s health care law does not address the underlying lack of competition and innovation that keeps costs so high and limits the quality of care Americans receive. Obamacare increases demand by forcing everyone to buy health insurance while doing nothing to increase supply. It’s the perfect recipe for higher prices.

Under our current health care system, obtaining prosthetics can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Much of the blame for such high costs lies with government bureaucracy. It shouldn’t have to take millions of dollars and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval to make a quality, safe, and affordable medical product.

Leon McCarthy, a 12-year-old boy in need of a prosthetic hand, couldn’t afford $30,000 for the existing prosthetic product. Instead, Leon’s father, Paul, worked with an international team that included a puppeteer and a carpenter and built a $150 3-D printed prosthetic.

It’s now available online in a newer design with parts as cheap as $5! This is a prime example of the sort of innovation that everyday people can come up with to solve medical challenges at low cost. Sadly, FDA red tape makes many innovations needlessly expensive and time-consuming, depriving all Americans of a greater supply of useful medical treatments. If Obamacare proponents are serious about reducing the cost of quality health care, they should address the overregulation of medical technology.

But that’s not the only way the government limits the supply of health care. The government should be encouraging doctors to open new clinics and hospitals and welcoming the prospect of new options and lower costs for American patients. But Certificates of Need (CON), essentially government permission slips allowing would-be health care providers to operate, make it more difficult for doctors to expand the supply of medical practices. These certificates effectively serve to protect the profit margins of existing hospitals from new competition at the expense of patients. This needs to change.

If our goal is to make health care affordable for every American, increasing the supply of medical care is the best way to meet that goal. Obamacare has increased the demand for health care by forcing every American to buy it but failed to increase the supply. Hence, individual premiums are growing out of control.

Unless the government allows the free market to expand supply and stimulate competition and choice, American health care patients will be stuck with the same expensive treatments at the same expensive hospitals and face years upon years of rising costs.Obamacare only makes a bad situation worse.

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