With complete control of the building (and all of its extensions), the Democrats on both the first and second floors of the State Capitol might find themselves between a rock and a hard place.
Never in modern times have there been so many Democrats in elected office in Colorado — and the base of voters upon whose backs and wallets the massive majority was built will want a payback. After all, what good is it to win it all if you fail to use your hard-won power to advance the agenda?
If Democrats really believe that global warming is an existential threat to humanity, then don’t they owe it to their base — and humanity — to pass a carbon fee / tax? Prop. 117 — passed by Colorado voters last November and requiring a popular vote on the creation of state government enterprises — is merely statutory, and there appears to have been no repercussions for ignoring the will of the voters vis-a-vis 2018's failed Prop 112. In that case, ruling Democrats in the legislature ignored the vote and passed SB19-181 a mere four months later. They should feel secure enough to take on the biggest source of carbon dioxide yet untouched, the transportation sector, with a fee on carbon. It is easy to collect; it will reduce CO2 emissions, and the tree huggers will be ecstatic.
With the pending doom of the oil and gas industry sealed by the passage of SB181, only agriculture is left as an unregulated emitter of methane. The newly introduced wolves won’t do nearly enough to curb bovine emissions; the legislature must act. Until the First Gentleman succeeds in taking us beyond eating meat, methane capture will have to fill the bill. It can be burned instead of coal to generate electricity when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.
Speaking of the base, Bloomberg and the Moms need a little love. There must be a way to close that pesky loophole that allows Coloradans to purchase three pieces of plastic and a spring large enough to hold more than 15 rounds of ammo (not that you can find 15 rounds of ammo these days). Further, there can surely be written a law that can discern the final use of a block of aluminum or plastic that could end up becoming an undocumented weapon; roll that into an effective ban on scary black guns and Bloomy will beam! I cannot recall a single reason not to.
Finally, something for the teachers’ union. They want money, which will be in short supply since the governor has kept the state locked down for most of a year. Perhaps it is time to take on those dreaded charter academies that keep stealing children from the government schools. Each kid that is dragged back into their neighborhood school is worth north of $10,000. It’s all statutory, it only takes 33, 18, and 1 to make the biggest part of the Democratic base very happy.
The Democratic Party is blessed with a 41-24 majority in the House, a 20-15 majority in the Senate, and a governor who is on a mission. There is nothing between them and their utopia.
Or is there? Almost 70% of active voters in Colorado aren’t Democrats. Nearly 58% voted to reduce income taxes across the board and 52.5% voted to limit the ability of the General Assembly to raise fees without asking permission first.
Republicans learned the hard way in 2004 that voters cared more about education, health care, and roads than they did about the agenda of the Republican Party’s base. We’ll see if that lesson is repeated or heeded in the next two sessions.
Greg Brophy, a Republican from Wray, represented District 1 in the state Senate from 2005 to 2015 and previously served in the Colorado House.