As usual, Democrats are losing their minds over something they created. See campaign finance reform. The latest comes from the outsized reaction to S.B. 09-108, which gave the Colorado Department of Transportation the ability to sign agreements with private entities that wanted to toll U.S. 36. In exchange for building and maintaining toll lanes on U.S. 36, companies would get to collect tolls on the roads.
Liberals are going crazy because they think this was the brainchild of a terrible (horrible!) alliance between former state Rep. Glenn Vaad. But, there’s a problem – this was their bill.
First, a columnist from the Boulder Daily Camera, Ann Butterfield, went nuts because a private company would receive a 50-year contract and because, supposedly, this was the brain child of American Legislative Exchange Council member Rep. Glenn Vaad. Good God, it almost sounds like ALEC would be going door-to-door to collect tolls from the residents of Boulder County.
Then, 14 Democrats sent a letter to CDOT expressing their concern. These 14 included: Senators Matt Jones D-Longmont, Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, Lois Tochtrop, D-Thornton, Jesse Ulibarri, D-Commerce City, and Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, and Representatives Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder, K.C. Becker, D-Boulder, Cherylin Peniston, D-Westminster, Tracy Kraft-Tharp, D-Arvada, Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, Dianne Primavera, D-Broomfield, Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, and Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City. A truly bipartisan crowd.
Then, CDOT quickly agreed to talk with them about their concern. The irony of the situation is that this law, also known as FASTER, was the brain child not of Glenn Vaad, but of Democratic Governor Bill Ritter and the Democrat-controlled legislature as a way to raise taxes by masquerading them as car registration fees to avoid TABOR limitations and a vote of the people. FASTER dramatically raised the fees that all Coloradans pay to register their vehicles and was sponsored by a who’s who of Democratic legislators. It was opposed by Republicans, and subsequently challenged in court as a violation of TABOR. Unfortunately the Denver District Court issued a partisan decision that held FASTER was constitutional. That decision is being appealed.
So, to recap, fourteen Democrats are freaking out about provisions of a bill that was originated by Democrat Governor Bill Ritter, and sponsored by no fewer than 32 Democratic legislators. A bill, incidentally, that was also opposed by every Republican (edited to add: except Al White) in the Capitol at the time. And yet, according to the Boulder Daily Camera’s columnist it was written solely for the benefit the right-leaning ALEC? Is this train of thought just another unintended consequence of the new recreational marijuana laws?
Both Heath and Hullinghorst, who are among the 14 Democrats hitting the freakout button, sponsored SB09-108 in 2009. Didn’t they actually read it the first time? Did they read it when they defended it in the Supreme Court?