The problem with initiatives
Once again, we have an election cycle. And once again, it's chock-full of rightwing initiatives that word themselves in bizarre ways to convince 50% that stupid ideas are reasonable. If anyone needed proof that the Democrats, much less the political Left, are incompetent is that we spend all our time playing defense. Again.
This time coming up for Colorado we have a slough of idiocy from Personhood v2 to abolishing all taxes at all (coming up below the fold–all the scary crap that one would expect in a Halloween Haunted House):
Amendment P The proposal calls for transferring the licensing of games of chance from the Department of State to the Department of Revenue.
Chalk this one up under “who cares”? Sure, it might make sense that the Department of Revenue should be handling licensing for gambling like it does driver's licenses (at least that's who I make my checks out to). But why should we care? How will this improve anything? Will it even change anything?
Amendment Q Shall there be an amendment to Section 3 of Article VIII of the Constitution of the State of Colorado, concerning a process for temporarily moving the seat of Colorado in a disaster emergency that substantially affects the ability of the state government to operate in the city and county of Denver, and in connection therewith, requiring the General Assembly to convene in a temporary meeting location designated by the governor and authorizing the General Assembly to determine by law a temporary location for the seat of government of the state?
Makes sense, but again, no one is telling us why we need an amendment to our Constitution for a common sense action like temporarily meeting in another city if Denver can't be the seat of government.
Amendment R Shall there be an amendment to Section 3 (1) (b) of Article X of the Constitution of the State of Colorado, concerning an exemption from property taxation for a possessory interest in real property if the actual value of the interest is less than or equal to six thousand dollars or such amount adjusted for inflation?
Uh…if you possess land, you pay property taxes, unless you're leasing from the government? Teh stupid. It burns.
Amendment 60 Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning government charges on property, and, in connection therewith, allowing petitions in all districts for elections to lower property taxes; specifying requirements for property tax elections; requiring enterprises and authorities to pay property taxes but offsetting the revenues with lower tax rates; prohibiting enterprises and unelected boards from levying fees or taxes on property; setting expiration dates for certain tax rate and revenue increases; requiring school districts to reduce property tax rates and replacing the revenue with state aid; and eliminating property taxes that exceed the dollar amount included in an approved ballot question,that exceed state property tax laws, policies, and limits existing in 1992 that have violated, changed, or weakened without state voter approval, or that were not approved by voters without certain ballot language?
Let's start with the obvious. Who is in charge of wording this crap? And why don't they just say, “We're 49th in the country for funding education, but really we want to be 50th. Race for the bottom! Woohoo!” Painfully stupid. And rightwing extremist. And most of the rightwingers pumping out the babies and then sending their kids to schools will soon be complaining that the public schools can't educate their kids because there is no funding. Painfully stupid. Did I just say that? I'm going to be saying it an awful lot because there's an awful lot of stupid in our mob-rule democrazy these days–and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Amendment 61 Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning limitations on government borrowing, and, in connection therewith, prohibiting future borrowing in any form by state government; requiring voter approval of future borrowing by local governmental entities; limiting the form, term, and amount of total borrowing by each local governmental entity; directing all current borrowing to be paid; and reducing tax rates after certain borrowing is fully repaid?
Teh stoopid. It burns. Again. So now when there's an economic downturn, the government should stop performing any services. Hey, we should all be like Colorado Springs, which recently started turning out the lights. I'm sure the conservative mountain regions of the state will be really happy in about 2 months when the snow starts flying and the state budget for plowing and salting means that we need to cut off the ski slopes (aka killing the revenue providers for the state during the winter).
My God. Couldn't someone have put something to compete with this? We're not having a rational debate on our tax policy. We're just saying that all government at any time is bad. Isn't there a competing view anywhere that could be on the ballot? Like, “let's identify vital services and keep them running?”
Nope. Not in the United States of Stupid.
Amendment 62 “Personhood” An amendment to the Colorado Constitution applying the term 'person' as used in those provisions of the Colorado Constitution relating to inalienable rights, equality of justice and due process of law, to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.
That's right. It's back. How about someone floating a constitutional amendment saying that if we vote down a stupid idea once, we get a reprieve before we have to vote it down again? The ad campaigns are saying it's against corporations. It's not. It's anti-choice.
How about a Constitutional Amendment that says that if the group that sponsors an initiative demonstrably lies during a campaign leading up to a campaign, the amendment is stripped from the ballot? At least then we won't have to deal with the blatant rightwingers lying to try to convince the moderates that really all they're about is keeping the corporations from being treated the same as breathing people. Hint: This amendment won't have that effect because of federal pre-emption.
Amendment 63 “Stop Obamacare!' Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning the right of all persons to health care choice, and, in connection therewith, prohibiting the state independently or at the instance of the United States from adopting or enforcing any statue, regulation, resolution or policy that requires a person to participate ina public or private health insurance or coverage plan or that denies, restricts, or penalizes the right or ability of a person to make or receive direct payments for lawful health care services; and exempting from the effects of the amendment emergency medical treatment required to be provided by hospitals, health facilities, and health care providers or health benefits provided under workers' compensation or similar insurance?
The pro side is labeling this as pro-insurance choice. Innocuous, right? But that's not what they're after. What they want is to exempt Colorado insurance companies from needing to follow federal law. They won't get that. Pre-emption again.
Of course, they're playing the checks and balances game. You know the one–the Executive absolutely must enforce all laws equally (like DADT) unless we rightwingers decide that we don't want to. Then it's checks and balances and good and happiness and bunnies. Teh stoopid. Someone please put me out of my ballot initiative misery before I go insane.
Amendment 101 “We just don't want any taxes at all.”
I'm tired of retyping this crap: we don't want to pay vehicle taxes or income tax.
We get it righties. You don't want to pay anything ever to no gubmint. Here's the thing–we're about to enter snow season. Your vehicle taxes help fund the wondrous paved roads and snow plows and mag chloride to keep those paved roads clean and the street lights to make it so you can stay on the damned road at night.
The upshot is that instead of the $72 dollars, we'll be paying $10 per year for a vehicle and our state income tax will go down to zero eventually. And with that extra 62 dollars in our pockets we'll ensure that no one can get to any ski town ever.
Amendment 102: “It says 'bond' and bonds are taxes so they must be bad, right?”
This one is so mindbogglingly stupid. Basically, it's saying that the courts can't release someone on personal recognizance while awaiting trial. Even Larimer-f'ing-County opposes this one. If they can't even get the gun-nuts in Larimer county behind them, they're beyond stupid.
If you made it through that and your head didn't explode: where's the progressive proposals? Where are any centrist proposals? Why do we end up with screwed up state Constitutions? Because we're pandering to the dumbest, greediest, most evil 76,046 Coloradans out there. They get to decide what gets on our ballot. And if, like “Personhood”, at first you don't succeed, try, try again! Eventually you might just get the 50%+1 of the population so demotivated by our political idiocy that we'll end up in a state with no law enforcement, no street lights, and no snowplows. Ah, the libertarian dream. Someone wake me up when it's over.