Mike Coffman hitting the right notes | SummitDaily.com
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Mike Coffman hitting the right notes

At least someone is outraged at what is occurring in the halls of the Legislature. That person is Republican State Treasurer Mike Coffman who is peeved at all the accounting gimmicks and rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul raids on fee-based or tobacco settlement funds to balance the state budget.

We especially applaud Coffman’s standing up to plans to raise fees for services to cover loss of tax revenues. He is correct in calling fee increases the same as tax increases. At this point, however, it may be either fee increases or “see you later” to the services people expect of state government.

None of this will ring true to people until they get billed for state services. Parents with children in state-supported colleges and universities likely will get the biggest wake-up call when next fall’s tuition bills arrive.



Coffman is correct in laying the budget blame at the feet of three Constitutional amendments, the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, the Gallagher Amendment and Amendment 23. In good times, the amendments don’t clash. In bad times, such as now, they do.

Coloradans will be hearing much about this issue in the coming year. Coffman will be leading the charge, we hope. Nobody else seems to be interested, least of all Gov. Bill Owens.



Coffman also deserves kudos for his efforts to fund tourism marketing by splitting up special revenues collected from state casinos. Up to this point, all the money has gone to historic preservation, a worthy cause in anybody’s book. Revenues have grown beyond what many expected. Coffman thinks tourism promotion, currently a starved priority, could share in the gambling bounty and not be a burden on the general fund.

Coffman’s idea carries great merit. Colorado’s economy, state and local government budgets are dependent on sales taxes. If government is to think like a business, it needs to market itself.

We’re glad Coffman is bird-dogging so many important issues. He has enough political ambition to keep up the fight.


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