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Colorado News Miner 101

Billionaire subsidies, Georgist taxes, housing, gun violence, funeral home horror, ticket scalping, the Jesus party, and more.

Copyright © 2024 by Ari Armstrong
January 12, 2024

Subsidies for Billionaires: Buried deep in Jason Blevins's article about agricultural business tycoon Stefan Soloviev is this tidbit: The billionaire "leveraged the federal farm credit system to spend many millions of federally subsidized loans on land with 30-year interest rates around 2%." "I knew how to play the farm credit system," Soloviev told Blevins. Why the federal government is subsidizing billionaires is beyond me.

Georgist Taxes: Ed Sealover: Jared Polis wants to swap out current property taxes for a "Georgist" tax on land value, "not based upon the value of the buildings on that land." Polis said, "Taxing land—not the buildings on top of it—also has the benefit of reducing land speculation and promoting environmentally sound development. In contrast, taxing buildings discourages investing in your home—including adding an Accessory Dwelling Unit, for example." I still prefer my proposal of just not taxing property at all, and freeing up property owners to develop their property.

Housing: Rose Pugliese said, "we will never be able to truly address the housing crisis until the governor and the majority recognize that it is the regulations that they have put in place that are raising the cost of housing and making it unaffordable and unattainable to Coloradans across the state." Yes, state regulations do add some expenses; however, the overwhelming political driver of high housing costs are local building restrictions—which Republicans are hesitant to oppose. In his State of the State address, Polis, joining Republicans, said he wants to curb "liability costs for multi-family condo construction." He also said he wants to end "discriminatory occupancy limits" and ease up on "zoning capacity." Meanwhile: "More generations [are] living under one roof as Coloradans battle high housing costs, caregiving needs." In related news, "Zillow predicts local [Denver] home prices will fall 2% in 2024," Axios reports.

Gun Violence: Alayna Alvarez and Sareen Habeshian: Colorado suffered a record-high 16 mass shootings in 2023, defined as "at least four victims killed or injured by gunfire, not including a shooter." In response, "Democrats plan to advance bills to ban firearm possession in public places, like schools and parks." That is so stupid. Keeping people licensed to carry a concealed handgun from carrying a gun in public places only means that would-be mass-shooters face less chance of armed resistance. News flash: People intent on committing mass murder do not obey laws banning guns in public places.

Hoax Bomb Threats: Gazette: "Dozens of schools across Colorado received bomb threats . . . which prompted many of them to evacuate, the Kiowa County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post. Synagogues in the Denver and Boulder also received threats, according to reports from Denver Gazette news partner KUSA."

Funeral Fraud: NPR: "Investigators who entered a Colorado funeral home where nearly 200 abandoned bodies were found encountered stacks of partially covered human remains, bodily fluids several inches deep on the floor, and flies and maggots throughout the building, an FBI agent testified Thursday." Horrific. The owners face numerous charges.

Charter Schools: Erica Breunlin: "Ascent Classical Academy Charter Schools—the governing board over charter schools serving nearly 2,000 students in Lone Tree, Brighton, Windsor and Grand Junction—terminated its contract early with management organization Ascent Classical Academies, which is a Golden-based nonprofit with a similar name that establishes and operates charter schools." These are "classical education" schools; I've visited the school in Golden. The schools hired an outfit called Minga Education Group. Apparently one issue was tension between the nonprofit and Hillsdale College, which produces curricula for the schools.

Child Welfare Fraud: Jennifer Brown: "A child welfare caseworker in Larimer County is facing 99 criminal counts after authorities say she failed to check on children who were the subject of abuse and neglect reports and then filed false paperwork claiming she did."

Child Abuse Defined: Shelly Bradbury: "Colorado's definition of criminal child abuse and neglect is too broad and should be narrowed to avoid conflating circumstances like poverty or homelessness with neglect and abuse," according to a state task force, which issued a report.

Ticket Scalpers: Tamara Chuang and Parker Yamasaki: "Colorado is one of a few states with a law that actually, and inadvertently, protects ticket resellers, by preventing venues and promoters from applying terms to the original purchaser of a ticket. . . . In a 2023 bill, lawmakers tried to revise the lack of consumer protections by making it legal for venues to cancel tickets bought by bots or by individuals who have previously created fraudulent tickets. Gov. Polis ultimately vetoed it." Libertarians will tend to reflexively defend the ticket scalper; however, here the deeper principle is freedom of association between the concert venues and their customers.

The Jesus Party: Jon Caldara: "On Christmas, the [Colorado Republican] party blasted a Bible-versed email proclaiming salvation can only happen through Jesus, with no regard to other faiths or no faith."

Vet Freedom: Elise Gingrich: "Colorado, like much of the country, is facing a severe shortage of veterinary professionals. . . . Unfortunately, a regressive state bill proposed by Rep. Karen McCormick, D-Boulder, would have the opposite effect. Bill E would prohibit telemedicine for new patients or those that haven’t been to the vet in a while, making it harder for pet owners to obtain veterinary care for their pets while unnecessarily restricting the tools veterinarians could use to provide treatment."

Charity Freedom: John Aguilar: "Church files suit against Castle Rock challenging town’s ban on sheltering homeless people in RVs."

Funds for Released Prisoners: Alex Burness: "About half of the people released from its state prisons wind up reincarcerated within three years. . . . James Coleman, a Democratic state senator . . . , says the legislature ought to try something new: giving more money to people exiting incarceration. He and three other Democrats are proposing Senate Bill 12 to allocate up to $3,000 per person upon release, for a one-year period."

Suing an Airport: Justin Wingerter: "Four hundred and six homeowners in Superior are suing Jefferson County, accusing its airport of violating their airspace, dumping lead on them and devaluing their 230 houses."

Polis on Abortion: Polis said: "What is taking place in Texas is horrific and deeply sad. A person's individual choice should be left to them—not politicians who are obsessed with taking away freedom."

Family Values: Jacob Factor: "Jayson Boebert, U.S. Rep Lauren Boebert's ex-husband, was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor assault and criminal mischief."

Covid: The virus ain't done with us.

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