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1 May 2012 at 1:57 p.m.
Well said Sandie! JoAnn, thank you for throwing your hat in the ring. I can't think of a better person for the job!!!
2 May 2012 at 6:35 p.m.
the great colorado pension heist of 2010: diagnosis, “legislative schizophrenia.”
If two contradictory positions peacefully coexist in the mind of an individual that person is schizophrenic, but is it possible for an entire organization to exhibit schizophrenia? Be the judge.
The Colorado General Assembly has recently endorsed the following two public policy positions:
#1 - “Colorado is in a fiscal crisis, Colorado PERA pension contracts must be breached!”#2 - “Colorado is not in a fiscal crisis, we are free to grant $100 million in property tax relief!”
How is it that this glaring inconsistency is readily apparent to me, but cannot force its way into the minds of our state legislators?
In 2000, Colorado voters amended Article X of the Colorado Constitution to allow the General Assembly, at its discretion, to exempt up to $100,000 of the value of a qualifying senior’s home from property taxation. Tax relief under the amendment is optional.
In the coming years, judges may legitimately ask “Why should the state of Colorado be permitted to breach its contractual pension obligations in years that it has provided discretionary tax relief, ignored its annual required contributions, or directed state resources to pension obligations that are not its own?”
How can the Colorado Attorney General argue with a straight face that it is “actuarially necessary” for Colorado to breach its pension contracts, when the state is giving back tax revenue, ignoring its annual required contributions, and voluntarily paying pension obligations for other governmental entities?
The Colorado General Assembly distills the political preferences of all Coloradans. Our character is reflected in their actions, by observing the Legislature we know ourselves better.
So, who are we? The verdict is ugly. Collectively, through our elected representatives, it appears that we will commit fraud when it is financially opportune. We will construct elaborate rationalizations for outright theft. We will abandon our contractual obligations when convenient. We will be distinguished by our moral laxity.
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