By Laura Carno
Colorado Springs voters will have a decision to make this November. Will they approve yet one more tax increase, or will they ask the city leaders to sharpen their pencils and tighten their belts?
Politicians — both Republicans and Democrats — like to grow government. And the only way they can grow government is to require taxpayers to foot the bill. We are lucky in Colorado that we have the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, which requires the politicians to put the tax hike to a vote of the people. And when they ask us for more money, we need to be very skeptical about whether they need it or not. The voters are in the driver’s seat. The politicians need our permission to raise taxes.
In Colorado Springs, Issue 2C will be on the Nov. 3 ballot, and would increase the sales tax on purchases made within the city limits. If passed, this increase of 0.62 percent would take the sales tax in the city of Colorado Springs to 8.25 percent, far above the average in Colorado of 7.39 percent. This $50 million annual tax increase would be in effect for five years and would be dedicated to road repairs and improvements. No one disputes the need for road repairs. The dispute arises over how best to pay for them.
One interesting twist: Republican Mayor John Suthers actually campaigned on raising taxes.
A Colorado Springs group — Colorado Springs Forward — is hoping to raise $100,000 to support the tax increase. According to the Colorado Springs Independent: “The campaign will be funded by donations from nonprofits, community leaders and professional organizations, such as the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs, the Regional Business Alliance and auto dealers, among others.”
But not all business interests are supporting the tax increase. In fact, the Colorado Springs Business Journal called the tax hike “unethical and imprudent.” Their concern, in part, is that a sales tax is regressive, and hurts the poor and elderly the most.
Americans For Prosperity Colorado hired Steve Anderson, a CPA with experience in municipal budgets, to review the city’s budgets and audits and propose options within the existing city budget to find an annual $50 million for road repairs — without raising taxes. Anderson came up with many ideas and Americans for Prosperity Colorado detailed these ideas for the mayor and the City Council.
But the mayor and the City Council aren’t interested in Anderson’s proposals. They want the tax increase. It might seem like an easier path for city leaders to raise taxes than to make difficult decisions in city government. But it’s their job to make difficult decisions.
Before any government — whether state or local — asks its citizens for more money, it needs to look at its own books, just like we do in our family budgets. The government needs to remember that every dollar it spends is a dollar you and I earned. If any politician supports a tax increase, it needs to be only after they have turned over every stone looking for another way.
I have started a grassroots ad campaign to educate citizens on this proposed sales tax increase. You can see my first ad at IACEaction.com.
Occasionally, there might be a legitimate reason for a tax increase. But when elected officials refuse to look for another way, when they just want to dig deeper into our pockets, we have an obligation to stop them.
Here in Colorado, we have a constitutional educational structure that promotes local control. Unfortunately, we also have a 400-person bureaucracy called Colorado Department of Education (CDE.) Over 6 billion dollars of taxpayer money is flowing through CDE. In theory, CDE has a fiduciary responsibility to students, parents, and taxpayers. However, all too often, the inner workings of CDE have been co-opted by special interest groups who do not share the same responsibilities.
The CDE reports to the State Board of Education which is comprised of a seven member elected board. The head of Colorado’s CDE is called the Commissioner of Education. In July of this year, CDE Commissioner of Education, Robert Hammond, retired. An interim Commissioner, Elliott Asp, was appointed by the State Board in August. Now the State Board and CDE have retained the search firm of Ray and Associates to help find and vet a new Commissioner of Education for Colorado. CDE has set up two avenues to obtain public input.
First, you can provide input through an online survey. If you go to http://www.cde.state.co.us/ there is a link for ‘Complete the Commissioner Search Survey’, which will be open for input until Monday, September 14. Second, beginning Thursday, September 10, there will be a series of Public Input Meetings. Please see list of dates, times, and locations below. If you cannot attend in person, there is an opportunity to attend by phone.
So what are we looking for in a new Commissioner? Our new Colorado Commissioner of Education must take a strong stand to eliminate the connection between the Colorado Department of Education and special interest groups, as well as begin to eliminate unnecessary and redundant functions in the educational process at the state level.
The Colorado State Board of Education, via the CDE, has a fiduciary responsibility to oversee the implementation of the laws written by the General Assembly, and to provide guidance to the 178 local school districts that represent approximately 800,000 students and their families. In the past, CDE has employed foundation-funded, ideologically and politically driven organizations to advise and implement policies that bypass the local control process and do not show fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers and voters.
One example of this was highlighted in the December 18, 2014, Colorado Joint Budget Committee Hearing. Legislators questioned the ethics and legality of having privately funded, non-profit entities, acting as government employees in our Department of Education. These “employees on loan” come from the Gates Foundation funded Colorado Education Initiative, (or better known as Colorado Legacy Foundation, before changing their name to CEI). There were 5 such CEI employees in our Colorado Department of Education overseeing the implementation of the new Common Core aligned standards and assessments.
We must demand a Colorado Commissioner of Education who is committed to:
- Minimizing state level bureaucratic control and oversight
- Restoring local control
- Promoting transparency in CDE finances, transactions, contracts, lobbying, and business partnerships
- Taking a strong stand to eliminate the connection between the Colorado Department of Education and special interest money and its influence on education policy. An example is CDE’s relationship with the Colorado Education Initiative as noted above
One avenue that the new Commissioner can take to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness would be to call for a complete and thorough audit of our Colorado Department of Education.
Our ability to participate in our own government process is one of the greatest aspects of America, but we only have rights if we exercise them. Please don’t miss this opportunity to be heard. Our kids deserve no less.
List of Public Meetings and Call-In Participation. RSVP Requested: RSVP to Jennifer Lee, Temp_Lee_J@cde.state.co.us or 303-866-6817
- Grand Junction – Location TBD Thursday, September 10 8:15 – 9:15
- Glenwood Springs – Roaring Fork SD, RM TBD Thursday, September 10 11:45 – 12:45
- Denver – 201 E. Colfax Ave., 4th Floor Atrium Thursday, September 10 9:45 – 10:45
- Denver – 201 E. Colfax Ave., State Board RM 101 Thursday, September 10 6:15 – 8:45
- Denver – 6000 E. Evans Building #2 Suite 100 Friday, September 11 10:30 – 11:30
- By Phone ** Thursday, September 10 4:45 – 5:45
**Call-in number provided when attendance is confirmed.
August 31, 2015
Here’s how the free market works: If you have a product people like, they buy it. If you have a product people don’t like, they don’t buy it.
In the free market of presidential politics, if people like a candidate, they can send them a donation, attend their rallies, post positive messages about them on social media, and express their preference in a poll.
In the real free market, those candidates who are most appealing to prospective voters would be on the main debate stage at the upcoming September 16th CNN debates. But that isn’t what’s happening. CNN and the Republican National Committee (RNC) are making sure that Carly Fiorina won’t be on the main stage. Why might that be?
By means of disclosure, I haven’t decided yet on a candidate for President. I have a pretty good idea of whom I don’t want, but there is certainly a pool of acceptable candidates I’d consider voting for.
Christopher Rants of the Des Moines Register published a column entitled “Why Are Republicans Letting CNN Pick Our President?” He explains in detail how the process for selecting debate participants was developed. At a high level, CNN and the RNC agreed on the criteria by which presidential candidates would be determined eligible to be on the main stage. The main stage is the prime time debate of the 10 highest polling candidates. Those that don’t make the cut are relegated to the non-prime time debate.
In the August 6th Fox News Channel debate, Carly Fiorina was appropriately placed in the non-prime time debate, based on the most current polls just before that debate. By many accounts, she won the debate, although she wasn’t on the main debate stage. I agree that she won. If you haven’t seen Fiorina speak, take a minute to watch her closing from the Fox News Channel debate.
The criteria for the CNN debate —agreed upon by the RNC— includes 9 polls from before the Fox News Channel debate and only two polls conducted after that. The Fox News Channel debate put Fiorina on the map. In current polls, she is coming in at 7th place, a showing that would easily put her on the main stage.
If Fiorina is bumped up to the main stage that means someone else is bumped down —as it should be. If a candidate is polling worse now as a result of his August 6th debate performance, and that puts him in position #11 or lower, he doesn’t deserve to be on the main debate stage. In a true free market of presidential politics, if people stop supporting a candidate, he has earned his way off the big stage.
Back to the question of why the RNC would have accepted —much less promoted— this methodology of determining the make up of the main stage. You can be assured that the RNC supports someone other than Carly Fiorina for President. Fiorina has been very persuasive and very effective on the campaign trail. That could certainly hurt someone like Jeb Bush, likely the RNC favorite. And in a 2014 article, the RNC admitted that it wanted to keep out candidates whom they didn’t sanction. Is the RNC afraid of Carly Fiorina?
Having Fiorina on the main stage would also hurt front-runner Donald Trump. Voters are hungering for someone who is not a career politician. Like Trump, Fiorina is also an outsider to politics. But she says what needs to be said in a style that is far less abrasive than Donald Trump’s style. Trump’s manner of insulting people, either individually or as a group is beneath the dignity of the office he seeks. A candidate calling a reporter a bimbo, at minimum, is terrible professional manners.
I like candidates who don’t sound like career politicians. As the former proprietor of the Udall Lied campaign, I love that Fiorina speaks the truth plainly and clearly: Hillary Clinton Lied. There is plenty of evidence that Clinton lied, and Fiorina isn’t afraid to say it. She uses words that most people use in their daily lives and they can actually relate to what she says.
Fiorina should be on the main debate stage. The debate will be more interesting and more informative for her being there. Republicans say they believe in people earning their own way. Carly Fiorina has earned her way on to the main debate stage.
What can we do about this?
1. The RNC has the power to say to CNN: Change The Rules. They are each private organizations that set the rules for the debate. They can change them. Call the RNC at 202-863-8500 and let them know you want more recent polls used in determining who is on the main stage at the September 16th If you are active on Twitter, send a tweet to @Reince to let the chairman know your opinion.
2. If you are one of the rare people called for a presidential preference poll, take the time to answer and express your preference for Carly Fiorina, even if she is not your current choice. The debates will be better for her inclusion.
2. If you have a few extra dollars, consider sending her a donation to express your support of her being in the debate.
3. Sign the petition at: https://carlyforamerica.com/cnn-rnc-do-the-right-thing-for-america
4. Share this blog on your own social media accounts and ask your friends to take the above steps.
August 3, 2015
There are few things more sacred to Americans than a secure and secret ballot.
On August 1, 2015, Vincent Carroll of the Denver Post wrote a column entitled: The high risk of e-voting pointing out some concerns with electronic transmission of military and overseas balloting. This overview should cause us all concern about both the security and the secrecy of ballots that are cast in this manner.
The Heritage Foundation also published a column with similar concerns on July 14, 2015.
The extent to which Internet–based voting allows our deployed military members —who have no access to mail ballots— to vote is a good practice. No one wants to get in the way of their right to vote. The question is: Is Internet and email balloting being used only as a rare exception, or is that method of voting expanding?
A 2011 Colorado State law (HB 11-1219) ensures that overseas military members get their ballots in order to vote and return their ballot through the mail in a timely fashion. They have 53 days from when the ballot leaves their County Clerk and Recorder’s office to when their ballot must be returned in order to be counted for that election. In most situations, this is sufficient time. Service members may also request an electronic ballot be automatically sent to them, so that they can print it out, vote, and mail it back to their county office. All of this is important and necessary.
Senator Kevin Lundberg, was a member of the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee during 2006 when this bill’s predecessor was passed. Senator Lundberg has spoken out against the use of the electronic transmission of voted ballots in all but the most rare of circumstances. He can be heard discussing this on a May 29, 2015 podcast with radio host Ken Clark, and Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams. The relevant portion of the conversation starts around 25 minutes in.
Consider a submariner who is underwater for months. Consider a service person deployed to a place in the world where mail isn’t an option. The law makes it clear that the overseas or military voter may, “return the ballot by electronic transmission in circumstance where another more secure method, such as returning the ballot by mail, is not available or feasible.” Note that the law acknowledges that electronic transmission is less secure than returning the ballot by mail.
In the May 29th podcast above, and a separate May 14, 2015 podcast, Secretary Williams says that this option for overseas and military voters to transmit their completed ballots electronically also applies to additional overseas voters, such as missionaries and students doing a semester abroad. The relevant portion of the podcast begins at about 1 hour and 21 minutes in. Senator Lundberg expresses concern in both of these podcasts about electronic transmission of completed ballots becoming a common practice as opposed to a “rare exception.” According to Secretary Williams, there were over 3,000 military members who used the electronic transmission method of voting in the 2014 general election. That is over 50% of the number of military and overseas voters who voted. Not all of these 3,000 were in areas where mail services were neither available nor feasible. Some may have been right here at home.
How safe is electronic transmission of a completed ballot? The language in the 2011 legislation admits it is not as safe as mailing in a ballot. New headlines every day like this and this show how vulnerable data is to being hacked. Here is a quick demonstration of how ballot data, using a 3rd party vendor, might be hacked and how a vote can be changed.
As for the 3rd party vendor, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office has contracted with Everyone Counts to be the technology link between the military or overseas voter and the County Clerk and Recorder’s offices throughout the state. When a military or overseas voter marks their ballot online, it doesn’t go directly to their County Clerk and Recorder. It goes first to Everyone Counts, along with the voters’ verified identity. After a copy of the electronic ballot is saved, the voter emails it to the clerk. Although Everyone Counts boasts about “secure and reliable voting options,” according to Secretary Williams in the May 14th podcast, the voter has to acknowledge that they are “voluntarily waiving their right to a secret ballot.”
It disrupts a voter’s access to a secret ballot when a commercial vendor collects the voter’s choices. If Everyone Counts were to be hacked, what would happen to a voter’s privacy? Would Everyone Counts be able to sell voter data?
The public was offered an opportunity to attend a July 7, 2015 Secretary of State hearing on the rules surrounding electronic transmission of ballots, and the opportunity to weigh in online if they were unable to attend the meeting. Most of the public comments were against electronic transmission of ballots.
While listening to the podcasts above, I heard an interesting question raised. The final caller on the May 14th podcast asked Secretary Williams about the family relationship between an employee of the Secretary of State’s office and an employee of the vendor, Everyone Counts. The Secretary didn’t answer the question, but if true, the Colorado Secretary of State should —at minimum—publicly disclose that fact, and ensure that there is an arms length relationship between the two entities, so that there is no appearance of impropriety.
If these issues are as concerning to you as they are to me, please contact the Colorado Secretary of State’s office immediately to express that concern.
You can send your comments to:
SoS.Rulemaking@sos.state.co.us and email@example.com.
By Laura Carno
July 21, 2015
I look forward to the day when American society is facing a problem, and the first response is, “What can we do about this?” as opposed to, “What can the government do about this?”
Today, we have an opportunity to see that difference in action with the publication of Healthier Colorado’s statewide poll on sugary drinks.
Healthier Colorado says on its website, “Healthier Colorado is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that the voices of all Coloradans are heard by our public officials on issues concerning health.” I appreciate their mission. Who doesn’t want to make sure our public officials are listening to their constituents?
One of the results of Healthier Colorado’s statewide poll is that 83% of poll respondents say, “Daycare facilities should NOT be allowed to provide soda pop or other sugary drinks to children in their care —unless their parents provide them.” Is asking the government to step in and require this really the best solution?
I don’t know too many people who think getting kids hopped up on sugar is a good thing, but why is the first instinct of these 83% to ask the government to require daycare providers to change their behavior? Daycare providers are just businesses that parents choose to send their children to. How many day care providers —when asked by a parent not to give their children sugary drinks— would refuse? If that daycare provider did refuse, the parents, who are the customers in this case, could go somewhere else for daycare services.
Imagine daycare providers who began to compete for business by offering the most healthy drinks and snacks. Or organic, non-GMO snacks. Or vegan, gluten-free, peanut-free snacks. Imagine what would happen if these decisions were left to service providers and service purchasers instead of asking the government to step in.
What if, instead of asking the legislature to mandate drinks at daycare facilities, Healthier Colorado offered an award for the daycare center that was most creative in its offering of healthy snacks? Parents and daycare providers, doing business voluntarily, have a much better chance of leading to healthier children.
By Laura Carno
June 6, 2015
Kudos to Colorado State Representatives Paul Lundeen and Tim Dore and Senator Kevin Lundberg for at least trying to limit the ability of the Colorado State government to boss around its citizens.
Late in the 2015 legislative session, these three Colorado state elected officials were the prime sponsors of House Concurrent Resolution 1003 (HCR-1003) which would have decreased the duration of the legislative session, and reduced the number of bills legislators could sponsor each year.
Currently the Colorado Constitution mandates that the legislative session lasts 120 days each year, and that each legislator may sponsor 5 bills each session. Since there are 100 legislators between the house and senate chambers, there are a minimum of 500 bills that are offered each year. Are there really 500 things that are wrong in Colorado that need to be proactively “fixed” with legislation? If they were all repeal bills, I might feel differently, but sadly they are not.
HCR-1003 would have reduced the duration of the sessions to 90 days in odd numbered years, and to 60 days in even numbered years. The extra 30 days in the first year would enable a biennial budget to be passed. Each legislator would have only 2 bills, not 5.
Imagine how much less damage could be done to the citizens of the Centennial State if legislators could only do 40% the damage they could do in a 120-day session with 5 bills each.
With just 40% of the bills, there would be less room for bills like:
- “Ban” on Powdered Alcohol
- Concerning Manufactured Home Communities including expanding the Department of Local Affairs to promote said communities
- Prohibiting the manufacture of plastic ‘microbeads’ by 2018, that the industry is planning on phasing out before then
HCR-1003 would have referred an amendment to the Colorado Constitution on the November 2016 ballot. The requirements for the current 120-day legislative session are in the Constitution.
See the original post here.
By Laura Carno
April 25, 2015
There has been much discussion in the pro-gun community over the past two weeks about whether or not Colorado State Senate President Bill Cadman should offer a late bill to move the firearms magazine limit from 15 rounds to 30 rounds, while full repeal of the limitation is pursued in a future legislative session.
Senate President Bill Cadman has the ability to introduce this bill in the remaining days of the 2015 legislative session. Senator Cadman, please introduce this bill and give us as many options as possible in choosing our self-defense.
Reasonable people can disagree on this, and they are certainly doing so. There are good people on both sides of this argument.
I am on the side saying we should pursue the increase in magazine size this year, because that is all we can get this year. Based on the makeup of the current Colorado state legislature, there is no way to get a full repeal. That bill has been offered and killed twice — one was a Senate bill and one was a House bill.
The other side of the argument says that we should never put a limit on our constitutional rights, and accepting a 30 round limit is doing just that.
While I can get my head around that argument, I don’t agree with it. We already have a limit on our constitutional rights. I want to go in the right direction while we wait for a full repeal of limits. It took Ohio years to get a full repeal of their magazine limitation. Because they have a strong state gun rights organization, the Buckeye Firearms Association, they maintained a consistent focus and got the full repeal, while accepting every small victory they could achieve along the way.
Full repeal is the end game. An all or nothing strategy leaves us with nothing.
On April 17, 2015, Dudley Brown, head of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, called in to the Mandy Connell Show on KHOW, to speak out against a bill to move the magazine size limit from 15 to 30. He said, about people who want to buy a 30 round magazine to, “Shut your pie hole and go buy one. There are many retailers who sell them right now.” Brown also said that principled conservatives would not vote for such a bill. I disagree.
While there may be civil disobedience in buying illegal magazines and Sheriffs who say they are not complying with the law, that is not a plan. The Sheriffs’ tenure is not eternal, and someone who doesn’t see things the same way may replace them.
Set politics aside for a moment and consider the life of a woman today that has just filed a restraining order against a violent ex-husband. She may have never thought about owning a firearm before but now knows that she needs to be able to defend herself. She knows deep down that a restraining order is just a piece of paper, and if she wants to live, defending her own life will be her responsibility.
Today, that woman doesn’t have the choice to buy any firearm she wishes. She might not want a 30 round magazine, but she can’t have more than 15. There are many personal and home defense guns that come standard with a 16 or 17 round magazine. What if that was the one gun she felt most comfortable with? This woman should have options for the firearm she wants and by offering and passing this legislation now, she can have more choices this year. We can get this increase through the legislature while we work on full repeal.
So, no Dudley Brown, I will not “shut my pie hole” about this.
Brown has all the guns he needs. But he wants first time gun owners, including those women who need to defend themselves today, not to have the best choices they can. This is irresponsible, and real people can get hurt by not being able to have the best choices now. Again, an all or nothing strategy will give us nothing.
It’s not about politics. It’s about the life and safety of people who need to defend themselves today.
Join me in urging Senator Bill Cadman to offer this “late bill”.
If you are interested in a more extensive dialog on the topic, Jon Caldara from the Independence Institute hosted a marathon radio show on the topic.
See the original post here.
March 24, 2015
By Laura Carno
The Government Cannot Compel Speech
Conservatives and civil libertarians were up in arms last year over the case of the bakery that was required by law to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. The baker didn’t want to bake the cake as same-sex marriages were against his religious values.
This was largely debated as a religious liberty issue, and there is certainly a case to be made for that. There is also my preferred argument that it isn’t the government’s job to tell anyone how to run their business, or what products they must sell, and to whom.
The government should not be able to compel speech. The government compelling speech is as wrong as the government prohibiting speech. It’s not the government’s job to tell us what we must or must not say.
It is this same principle that applies to a story about four US Congressmen who are sponsoring a bill that would require cadets at the Air Force Academy to say, “So help me God” as part of their annual oath. My own Congressman, Doug Lamborn, is one of the four.
Rep. Sam Johnson from Texas is the bill’s prime sponsor. He said the bill, called the Preserve and Protect God in Military Oaths Act of 2015, would protect the religious freedom of American troops. Fair enough. It is currently an optional part of the oath, and cadets may say it.
But why try to compel those cadets who are not religious to say, “So help me God?” Why is it acceptable to compel this speech, when it’s not acceptable to compel the speech of the baker? And for those who were in favor of requiring the baker to bake the cake, but are against this “So help me God” bill, that is not philosophically consistent either.
Both sides need to check their premises. The government either can tell us what to say or they cannot tell us what to say. You can’t have it both ways.
See the original post here.
Companies such as Airbnb, Uber and Lyft have been revolutionizing the way that consumers think about certain services in our economy. Unfortunately, rather than being embraced by local governments, these companies have consistently encountered bureaucrats and special interests every step of the way.
Denver politicians and hotel industry lobbyists are currently seeking to impose lodging taxes and licensing requirements on thousands of homeowners who simply offer cheap extra rooms to consumers who wish to pay less. Denver should instead encourage this new “sharing economy” and refrain from placing unenforceable regulations on Colorado property owners and tourists.
Since its inception in August of 2008, Airbnb has grown from a single apartment rental into a worldwide network of available lodging for over 9 million customers served. Rather than choose from a few cookie cutter hotel chains, consumers can shop through countless hosts based on price, amenities, reputation and whatever else they desire. The growth has been so rapid that local governments are only just beginning to comprehend how prevalent it is.
The first cities to successfully implement local taxes on Airbnb hosts were Portland, OR and San Francisco, CA in 2014. According to the company, about $5 million in taxes has been paid out to these 2 cities, encouraging the likes of San Jose, Amsterdam, Washington D.C. and Chicago to join the mix this past February.
With over 1,000 listings in Denver alone, the Denver City Council Sharing Economy Task Force (yes, this actually exists) has now begun to discuss applying their 10.75% lodger’s tax on any property owner who lists through Airbnb. This proposal predictably has the full support of the Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association, whose clients have seen a dip in profits as Airbnb has grown elsewhere.
Cities should understand that consumers and hosts would be paying for and hurt by the tax implementation, not Airbnb CEO’s. The ability to turn a home into a source of revenue is helping property owners who are struggling to get by, along with allowing consumers and families who can’t afford normal hotel rates a greater opportunity to travel.
In fact, a recent study by a New York University professor showed that, “peer-to-peer rental marketplaces have a disproportionately positive effect on lower-income consumers across almost every measure.” It turns out that leaving more money in the pockets of low-income consumers increases their ability to afford things like food, lodging and travel. No kidding.
Beyond the implementation of the lodger’s tax, the city council and Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association president Amie Mayhew are pushing licensing and safety regulations on hosts. These regulations would align with what the hotel industry has to abide by, including carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, fire alarms, etc. Mayhew states that this would simply be, “to create equity”.
The city of Portland has gone a few steps beyond this and currently demands that hosts must allow health and safety inspections of their residences, in addition to requiring permits to operate. Of the over 2,000 rental properties available in Portland, only 93 (or under 5%) of properties actually had the permit and inspections to operate legally.
These types of costly and time-consuming regulations simply don’t work and arbitrarily turn good people into lawbreakers when they refuse to comply.
Additionally, Airbnb’s website has a much more effective and meaningful regulatory system. Both hosts and guests can review each other and make recommendations to the web community. If a host drops their standards, the comments section will instantly warn travelers. A city license of approval on the other hand could last for months between inspections.
While the implementation of some degree of taxation may be difficult to avoid, bureaucrats should refrain from placing absurd licensing and safety regulations on people’s homes. There is simply no way to enforce such a policy without placing onerous obligations on the part of Airbnb, or by deploying lodging police to kick down the doors of Airbnb hosts.
Denver City Council should instead celebrate the growth of this “sharing economy” and not let arbitrary regulations hurt entrepreneurial property owners and lower income tourists.