For the past four years, Democrats in Denver have chased businesses out of this state, raised our taxes, made a mess of the state’s finances, and rolled out the welcome mat for illegal aliens. I’m sick of it. I’m running for governor to put our state back on the path of economic growth and fiscal restraint. I’m running to make Colorado a friendly place for business, and an unfriendly place for illegal aliens.
Colorado’s unemployment has more than doubled since 2007. The Democrats’ answer to this problem was to approve more than $1 billion in new taxes and fees on consumers and businesses, and to impose heavy-handed new energy regulations that earned Colorado the worst ranking in America for oil and gas development, according to a survey of industry executives.
As governor, I won’t treat employers like ATMs. I won’t target them for higher taxes or new job-killing red tape. And I won’t make it easier for trial lawyers to sue them. I’ll work to roll back the so-called “dirty dozen” sales hikes, and make Colorado more attractive for large-scale investment and job creation by phasing out the Business Personal Property Tax. I’ll veto any effort to extend Gov. Bill Ritter’s property tax hike on seniors, and I’ll restore the limit on runaway state spending growth.
We’ve also got to make sure that the jobs that are created go to people who are here legally. That’s why I will demand strict enforcement of state and federal immigration laws. I also will work to enact a mandatory workplace verification system to help employers ensure that all of their employees are here legally. And I will block the award of state grant dollars to any local government that makes Colorado a “magnet” for illegal immigration by enacting a so-called “sanctuary” policy, and I will veto any effort to provide discounted in-state tuition to illegal aliens at state colleges and universities.
Government also has to a better job living within its means. Entitlement spending has been growing at an unsustainable rate.Medicaid eligibility, for example, has been expanded more than a dozen times since 2001, and the number of program recipients has nearly doubled in that same period. As governor, I will oppose unsustainable expansions in state entitlement spending. It’s time to stop digging.
I’ll also put an end to the autopilot expansion of the state payroll. Payroll costs as a percentage of overall state spending continues to rise. And average annual compensation for state employees now has risen to nearly $70,000 (and one recent audit found that state employees make as much as 16 percent more per year than their private-sector counterparts). Apparently, however, that isn’t enough for the state employee union — which asked for a pay raise last year despite the massive budget shortfall.As governor, I will rescind the executive order that unionized state government, and I will work to reduce personnel costs as a percentage of state spending.
Government also needs to do a better job spending those dollars it does collect to provide the core services that taxpayers expect. Last year, for example, Democrats imposed a new $250 million per year car tax hike, yet they didn’t allocate a single dollar of general fund revenue to road construction. That’s right: After asking drivers to pay higher car taxes to the tune of more than $1 billion, Democrats then approved the largest cut to transportation funding in state history — allowing them to siphon off money previously set aside for safer roads and bridges and spend it on other programs. As governor, I will put a statutory framework in place that prevents politicians from stealing revenues from roads to pay for unsustainable growth in entitlement programs. And I will demand that the legislature set aside a portion of sales tax revenues generated by the sale of automobiles and automobile-related items to pay for highway construction and maintenance.
The past few years have been hard for our state. But I’m confident that with common sense, and a little independent leadership, we can get Colorado back on the path to prosperity.
Tom Tancredo is a member of the American Constitution Party running for Colorado governor.