It's been a couple weeks since we last discussed the Denver Mayor's race. We're keeping an eye on the contest, if for no other reason than to help conservatives figure out who to vote for in a race that doesn't include a single Republican.
Scratch Michael Hancock from the list of candidates who Denver Republicans should consider for the job.
This surprises us, because we had heard Hancock was actively courting Republicans. We had heard that he was a pro-business kind of guy. We had heard that, while hardly a conservative, he was the kind of pragmatic Democrat that Republicans could potentially get behind.
We heard wrong.
Witness Hancock's answers printed in the Sunday Denver Post about how he would balance the city's budget. Far from fiscally circumspect, Hancock sounded more like Bill Ritter than John Hickenlooper.
When asked whether he would raise trash collection fees to bailout the city's budget, here's what Hancock said:
"All options must be on the table and our entire community should be encouraged to discuss a possible fee structure for trash pickup…"
Denver residents already pay for trash pick up through the General Fund.
Come on, Mike.
But this was only the start. Hancock's real whopper came when he said he would be willing to put a tax on services in the city — haircuts, massages, accounting services, legal services, etc. This is the second time we've heard about a new "service tax" in the last few months. The first time was when liberal loon Carol Hedges proposed a statewide ballot initiative to impose a big new sales tax on all sorts of service sector stuff.
Hedges' plan went "splat", and she pulled it from the ballot setting process amid a sea of howls and protests (and Republican snickering).
But apparently Hancock wasn't paying attention. Or doesn't care. From the Post:
Question: Do you think that services, such as hair cutting or massage, should be taxed? Explain your answer.
Michael Hancock: The economy of the 21st century has shifted to include significant spending on services, not just tangible goods. This shift has impacted revenues and must be considered as we work to create a sustainable city capable of paying for essential services. Many cities and states around the country are having the same discussion.
BAM! POW!! SPLAT!!!
Hancock doesn't even try to hide the fact that a citywide sales tax on services is squarely in play. Give him points for honesty; take away all those points and then some for leaving the door open on a tax plan that would be devastating to the Mile High City's economic recovery.
If you're a Denver Republican and looking for a candidate to get behind, consider Michael Hancock no more.