Maes Talks Taxes, Abortion, and Eminent Domain

I have been dismissive of Dan Maes, who is challenging presumptive front-runner Scott McInnis for the Republican nomination for governor. (See my first, second, and third set of comments.) But Maes shows up and answers questions, and that counts for a lot. His tenacity earns him at least a second glance — especially given that McInnis is the ideal candidate of few.

I talked with Maes at the December 21 Liberty On the Rocks holiday party (er, “Christmas party!”) hosted by the Independence Institute. We talked about a number of issues, but I assured him the conversation was off the record. He also complained that I had not given enough consideration to his candidacy. So I figured I’d invite him to further articulate some of things we talked about, on the record. I sent him five questions, which he generously answered. My questions are in bold.

I appreciate you giving me your time at the II event to discuss your campaign.

I would like to again give you the opportunity to further articulate your views, on the record. I have a number of questions arising from our conversation. I will be happy to publish your replies, unaltered, on my web page.

1. As governor, what would be your role in dealing with the military’s desire to expand Pinon Canyon operations? [See the write-up about McInnis’s statements on eminent domain for background.]

I would like to act as a mediator and seek out a mutually beneficial solution if possible. I do not see issues like this as zero sum. I only have the ranchers’ input thus far and they have presented a very strong case for preservation based on many valuable criteria not limited to private property rights, less federalization of state land, and cultural history. I await the Army’s position in detail beyond a GAO report that has unaddressed exemptions in it.

2. Generally, when do you believe eminent domain is appropriate, if ever?

It is a constitutionally acceptable process and should be applied on a case by case basis. Application of the practice should only be exercised when there is a clear and convincing case for a purely public use and benefit.

3. Please explain what specific economic policies you would adopt. Would you seek to cut specific taxes?

Yes, personal income tax and business property tax. Possibly explore a Fairtax (consumption tax).

Cut specific state programs?

Yes, TBD.

Roll back specific economic controls?

Clarify please.

[I was under the impression that Maes wanted to cut certain regulations on business, and I was trying to figure out which regulations he might want to repeal or modify. I will be happy to post Maes’s additional comments on the matter if he cares to send them.] Many politicians, including W. Bush and Obama, promised to cut taxes, so I’m looking for some specific proposals.

I see our energy industry and the accompanying tax revenues as an enormous potential for our state just like our energy producing neighbors. With aggressive and responsible energy policies we could increase these revenues dramatically. Simultaneously, I have articulated my position on downsizing government FTE [full-time employees] by up to 4000.

I will defend Tabor while seeking a better balance with the effects of Amendment 23. I am a strong advocate for public schools as I have two children attending them, however; we must seek more fiscally responsible reform.

Cutting taxes is part of my plan but only after we have struck an appropriate sizing of state government and started a statewide recovery.

4. As you know, the Colorado legislature directs corporate welfare to a variety of industries, including tourism and energy. What are your views of corporate welfare?

I would like to examine the specifics in each case. Our state constitution clearly states we are not to make investments in private entities. I want to honor the spirit of our federal and state constitutions. I do see tax breaks as viable incentives to spur our economy.

5. The “personhood” measure slated for the 2010 ballot states, “As used in sections 3, 6, and 25 of Article II of the state constitution, the term ‘person’ shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.” Please explain your views on this measure.

I support it with the understanding that the life of the child is equal to that of the mother and shall never be considered more important than that of the mother.

I appreciate your pledge to answer the survey coming soon from my dad and me. That will probably come out the first days of January.

In closing, understand that we have 3 months until caucuses, 5.5 months until state assembly, and 11 months until the general election. It is still a tad early to have all the answers but I hope I have given you something to start with. Contrary to my opponent, I do have a copy of the current state budget and will continue to examine it, get consultation on it, and come
ready to provide even more specifics in the near future. Thank you.

I will indeed be interested to see whether McInnis is as forthcoming in his answers to the upcoming survey. (I also hope the survey prompts even more specific and revealing answers from Maes on a variety of issues.) I believe the voters of Colorado deserve to know where candidates stand on the issues.

By the way, a People’s Press Collective article discusses some of the recent comments of the candidates, including McInnis’s comments about the CSU gun ban.

Talking both with Maes and with Clive Tidwell, the underdog in the U.S. Senate race, I picked up a “throw the bums out” vibe, which is to be expected from candidates with no political experience running against seasoned former politicians. However, I have no interest in replacing one bum with another, potentially worse one. While experience and biography do matter in these political races, I hope ultimately they are about fundamental ideas and their application to policy. So I will continue to try to get candidates to articulate their ideas and policies as fully as possible. I hope the voters — and other political writers — join me in this.