Governor John Hickenlooper's magical power over the press and Republicans continued today, as he gave a State of the State Address to great cheers and adulation from the press and the GOP.
Julius Caesar would have been jealous of such flattery.
The kicker quote from the Post's coverage perhaps summed up the bootlicking mood Hick whipped up: "God, I love that man," said Sen. Cheri Jahn, D-Wheat Ridge.
Even in the meat of the Post coverage Hick got his talking points through:
That's why, the governor said, he wants to focus state aid on the poorest seniors, giving assistance to rent and heating bills, rather than allowing a senior property tax break that costs the state nearly $100 million a year to take effect.
So the Governor is concerned with the poor and the elderly, but wants to increase the property tax bills of the poor and the elderly? Come again?
With the deep recession, and obliterated retirement savings, there are plenty of seniors who don't pay rent but could very much use the senior property tax assistance. Hickenlooper must be glad the Post didn't point that out.
Hickenlooper's biggest proposal deals with restructuring Pinnacol, but even there the Governor trimmed and nuanced:
"As many of you know, we have been thoughtfully exploring the potential benefit to businesses, injured workers and the state of Colorado from the separation of Pinnacol Assurance from the state. Done properly, and with the support of policy holders, a restructuring of Pinnacol could provide Colorado with a security interest that has the potential of funding economic development and higher education scholarships.
We asked a diverse task force of civic leaders and stakeholders with expertise in workers compensation to review this proposal. We look forward to sharing our recommendation with you before we move forward with a specific legislative request."
Hick was bold enough to call for a Tim Tebow victory and a bicycle race on the Eastern Plains. No Noble Peace Prize stuff here.
On personnel reform, Hickenlooper is studying…
"Another way we can make state government more effective and realize cost savings is to bring the state’s antiquated personnel system into the 21st century. The state Constitution is riddled with personnel rules and administrative procedures that are obsolete and should be reformed.
We are working with state employees on a package of reforms, but we need your help to go to the ballot this year with a proposal that will improve the way we manage state personnel."
On the Olympics, Hickenlooper calls for an "entrepreneurial" approach, that is, if the study committee decides it is necessary.
"We are working with Mayor Hancock and an exploratory committee to consider the feasibility of hosting the Olympic Winter Games in 2022. Any pursuit of the Olympics, if that happens, should be done in an entrepreneurial way and with an eye on making Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. Let’s use sport as a way to promote better health."
On PERA reform, "we are not immediately seeking legislative changes" even though it is really important and kind of a mess.
On early literacy, no action immediately required, because they are still "working on bipartisan legislation".
On and on it went.
There was some good in the speech…personnel reform and our previous oil and gas reference come to mind. But on the whole, the speech was not much more than a rendition of an Obama address…a lot of words but not a lot beneath.
Let's hope that doesn't become a descriptor of the legislative session too.