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Government Ruins Nearly Everything is available on Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0692…

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Get your copy of Laura Carno’s new book Government Ruins Nearly Everything

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Get your copy of Laura Carno’s new book Government Ruins Nearly Everything
Available on Amazon.com
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Laura Carno speaking at the Leadership Program of the Rockies annual retreat in their Leaders with Impact presentation.
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Wondering what my new book is about? Wonder no more!

Government Ruins Nearly Everything

Visit Laura’s website: LauraCarno.com

We are in the final stretch! My new book, Government Ruins Nearly Everything, is due out March 30, 2016. It will be available on Amazon.com and I will send the pre-order link to my email list, and post it on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as soon as it’s available. If you are not yet on my email list, I’d be honored to have you as a part of it. You can sign up right here.

What is Government Ruins Nearly Everything about? Does the subtitle Reclaiming Social Issues From Uncivil Servants give you an idea?

We all know that the government isn’t good at much of anything. Sure, it put a man on the moon, but can you name two things government has done right? Can you name ten things it has done right? Most of us have a lot of difficulty getting past one or two government accomplishments.

Why, then, do we turn to the government to solve our problems —especially the most important problems in America?

In Government Ruins Nearly Everything, I detail why government can’t solve big problems and why individuals like you and me are better equipped to develop workable solutions. There are individuals and organizations —today— improving problems outside of government and the political process. I tell their stories in this book.

Just what are these big problems that government can’t fix but we can? In Government Ruins Nearly Everything, I write about 4 issues that cause the most “fireworks” in the political process: Abortion, Schools, Guns and Marriage.

One side of the aisle wants government out of abortion and marriage, but wants government to fix failing schools and reduce gun violence. The other side of the aisle wants government out of schools and guns, but wants government to reduce abortions and strengthen marriage.

For most voters, one or more of these issues is very important to them. But if we know government can’t solve our problems —especially those most important to us— why do we keep expecting that they can? And how can we, outside of government and the political process, have a positive impact on those issues most important to us?

Government Ruins Nearly Everything answers these questions.

I hope this has piqued your interest! I am excited for these ideas to become part of the political conversation.

Visit Laura’s website: LauraCarno.com

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Laura Carno on Gun Freedom Radio: Gun Policy, Politics, and CCL

Laura Carno talking about gun policy, politics and CCL on Gun Freedom Radio in Arizona with Cheryl Todd.

Gun Freedom Radio

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Terrorism at forefront of Democratic debate

USA Today

November 14, 2015

KUSA – In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, former secretary of State Hillary Clinton was forced Saturday to defend her record in the Obama administration and as an original supporter of the Iraq War.

Standing between her two opponents for the Democratic presidential nomination during the party’s second debate, Clinton said the United States is not responsible for the latest spate of terrorist attacks but must “bring people together” to defeat the Islamic State.

All three candidates — Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley — stressed the need to take the fight to Islamic jihadists in a rallying cry that made them sound more like the larger number of Republicans vying for the White House.

“It cannot be contained. It must be defeated,” Clinton said of the terrorist threat. She promised to outline a plan to work with European and Middle East allies against “the scourge of terrorism” because “all the other issues we want to deal with depend on our being secure and strong.”

At the same time, Clinton said, “I don’t think we’re at war with Islam. I don’t think we’re at war with all Muslims. I think we’re at war with jihadists.”

The Paris attacks dominated the early part of the Democratic debate in Iowa, where voters will kick off the 2016 voting in February.

Although Sanders and O’Malley have taken stands more dovish than Clinton in the past, they jumped at the opportunity to point out her support for President Obama’s cautious approach in Syria and elsewhere, as well as her 2003 vote for the war in Iraq.

“The disastrous invasion of Iraq … has unraveled the region completely and led to the rise of al-Qaeda and ISIS,” Sanders said. “The invasion of Iraq led to the massive instability we are seeing right now.”

But like Clinton, Sanders said the United States can’t dominate the battle. Middle East allies, he said. “are going to have to get their hands dirty, their boots on the ground. They’re going to have to take on ISIS.”

O’Malley said the growth of terrorism since the Sept. 11 attacks has been caused by a lack of “human intelligence” on the ground. As a result, he said, Afghanistan, Iraq,Libya and Syria are all “a mess.”

While the Paris attacks dominated the first part of the debate, the candidates also quarreled over wages and Wall Street, immigration and education, health care, guns and race.

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Who Is Buying Colorado Springs Issue 2C?

By Laura Carno

http://lauracarno.com

Do voters deserve to be educated on who is funding Issue 2C?

I have previously written about Colorado Springs Issue 2C and have been running a small campaign against it. My position is that government at any level should never come to the voters asking for more money until they have turned over every stone looking for alternatives. I don’t think Colorado Springs politicians have done that. There are some people who think that the politicians have done everything they could before putting 2C on the ballot. Reasonable people can disagree.

The pro-2C advocates have waged a high-dollar campaign to convince the voters that this sales tax increase is necessary —that it’s the only way to fix the roads. They have done this through TV and radio ads, mailers, robocalls from the Mayor, and paid canvassers to knock on doors. The Gazette also tried to help the 2C advocates by running a hit piece against me personally, digging through my past employment in an attempt to discredit me. I have also had numerous social media posts and profanity-laden emails accusing me of being funded by the Koch Brothers. I am not funded by the Koch Brothers. And community members, including at least one city council person, attacked me on social media, calling me an “out of town special-interest,” because I live in Black Forest.

Let me address that accusation. I live in Black Forest, just outside of Colorado Springs. The money I spend in Black Forest is limited to buying my coffee beans at R and R Coffee Café. If you haven’t been to Black Forest, CO, its business district is pretty small. Nearly all of my shopping is done in Colorado Springs. Nearly all of my sales taxes are paid in Colorado Springs, so the passage of 2C does affect me. In addition, I don’t get to vote against 2C, as I don’t live in the city limits. Even if the sales tax increase didn’t affect me personally, I have a First Amendment right to speak out against government action when I think it lacks integrity, thus my little campaign.

And I do mean little campaign. I spent less than $8,000 on radio ads, Facebook ads and banner ads on the Drudge Report.

So on to the punch line —who is funding the Yes on 2C campaign? And what might they hope to gain from their contributions?

To start, as of the most recent campaign finance report filed October 30th, the primary group funding the Yes campaign —Springs Citizens Building the Future— had raised over $387,000. To be clear, they have outspent me by almost 50-1. I’m not complaining about this. Part of our First Amendment right to speak out politically is our right to raise more than the other side, and get our persuasive argument out there. I have almost always been outspent in campaigns I’ve run. That’s the way it goes.

But let’s look at who comprises that $387,000.

There are your average citizen donors. Great, they are participating in their local government, just like I am.

Would it surprise you to know that 76% of the dollars donated came from developers, construction industry companies, and other large companies? Issue 2C is slated to fix the roads in Colorado Springs. I wonder what road construction companies could possibly hope to gain from their big donations? I’m hoping they aren’t expecting preferential treatment in bidding on the roadwork. If 2C passes, we expect to see a transparent, competitive bidding process.

The construction industry alone contributed over $168,000. A quick look at just those over $5,000:

Schmidt Construction 50,000.00
Associated General Contractors of Colorado 15,000.00
Colorado Asphalt Pavement Association 10,000.00
Martin Marietta Aggregates 10,000.00
Pikes Peak Electrical Partnership 10,000.00
Transit Mix Concrete Co 10,000.00
Kiewit Infrastructure Co   5,000.00
Colorado Construction Industry Coalition   5,000.00
Rocky Mountain District Council No. 5   5,000.00
CAMPC Opportunity Fund   5,000.00
Frazee Construction   5,000.00
Rocky Mountain Materials & Asphalt, Inc.   5,000.00

 

Remember those people who wrongly attacked me for being funded by the Koch Brothers? Are they OK with these donations?

And remember those people, including a city council person, who attacked me for being an out of town special-interest? Three of the above organizations are in the Denver–Metro area and one is in Raleigh, NC. There are even more out of town companies who donated amounts below $5,000. And we haven’t heard a peep from my critics.

I don’t blame these companies for their donations. The proponents of 2C are actively seeking these donations. They and the city leaders are also responsible.

If you are voting for 2C, make sure you have all the facts. Road construction companies and developers really want 2C to pass, and are putting significant amounts of money behind it to make sure it passes. If this kind of cronyism is OK with you, please vote yes on 2C.

If you are as concerned as I am that big companies are trying to buy this election, thereby enhancing their chances of personally profiting from your increased taxes, then vote no on 2C.

Don’t trust me on these astounding numbers. If you’d like to see more information about donors on both sides of the issue, all of the detail is available at the City of Colorado Springs website.

I challenge the Colorado Springs media to educate voters on who exactly is trying to buy this election to pass Issue 2C. Don’t you think voters deserve to know this?

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Turn over every stone before asking for more taxes

9/28/2015

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.

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You Can Help Colorado Kids

Bethany Drosendahl
Guest Blogger

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.

Bethany Drosendahl
Parent Advocate
youropengate@gmail.com