Amy Oliver, Kevin Lundberg, 5/16/2011

Station: KFKA 1310 AM

Show: Amy Oliver

Guest: Kevin Lundberg


Date: 5/16/2011

Time: 11:59:00

Topics: Legislative rap up

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Oliver: We have State Senator Kevin Lundberg back on a different line and I know it’s going to sound better. Senator thank you so much for accommodating us on…we have a technical difficulty. We heard that the losers where the drivers, the residents…folks in Weld and Larimer Counties. When it comes to…they are not going to be excluded from the enhanced admissions area. We do need to continue to get out cars checked and pay that fee. Looks like some $5 million dollars to will go the state’s way courtesy of drivers from Larimer and Weld County. Unbelievable there but you guys did a great job trying to get that though. And I think we were starting on the other losers we were talking about. It was rate payers in Colorado.

Lundberg: Right, electric ratepayers are going to end up flooding the bill for controlling haze and Amy you were quite involved in that as well so you can speak to this better frankly than I can I expect.  But we tried to get them to back off a bit but electric rates are going to be going up because we need to be able to see just a little clearer when we are on a mountain top…maybe.

Oliver: This is not anything that has any health impact. This has to do with regional haze. It’s strictly an aesthetic measurement and ratepayers will pay dearly for it.

Lundberg: About $1 billion over the next 10 years if I understand the estimates.

Oliver: Of course that is in today’s dollars that didn’t even include inflation or adjusted costs or anything. That is from Xcel energy’s own estimation of that bill and actually we will be working on that so more. Hopefully provide you guys some legislative ammunition in the next session but I’ve got some projects for some of my interns who we were pretty hard over the summer put we are going to be working on those issues in particular. Alright, any other losers?

Lundberg: The people of Colorado actually dodged a lot of bullets but not all of them. When it comes to just increased regulations and systems that become just a little bit more intrusive. It’s kind of .hard to put my finger on all of them. Of course I try to track these things on a daily basis during the session in my freedom watch blog, on my website. But there were a lot of little regulations that just kept growing. Can’t seem to stomp them all out if you will.  I just totally amazed every time that we turn around, we had this one bill to repeal regulations on bedding which was a great idea but we couldn’t quite come to an agreement on getting it all done because some people still thought that we ought to regulate the cleanliness of a used couch.  Never mind the fact that you ought to be able to figure this out on your own.

Oliver: If I am buying a used couch it is just that. Heck I was hoping you guys would have the courage to cut off the tags that say if you cut this tag off you only do so under the penalty of federal law.

Lundberg: Actually we did get that much through but people still have to regulate everybody everywhere all the time it seems. So what I say in general was the same trend of this assumption that we at the state capital know better than you do and so we are going to regulate and control your lives. This one was kind of a split deal here but one of the industries that we will be regulating now is private investigators. Now at least they are going to make it voluntary licensing but we are going to license one more industry.  I haven’t had a chance to do all of the homework on all the bills. There were maybe…I don’t know…150. By the time that the governor gets finished signing bills maybe 200 bills will have become law this year.  And most them step through a little more regulation, which means we trim off a little bit more liberty and we tell the citizenry that we trust you a little bit less than we did last year.

Oliver: I want to ask you a question before I get to…bad news I guess would be a way to put it.  Tell me a little bit about…you have been down there a few years… just a few.  But it seems like even those who and I say this because there is one bill that I literally probably would have… I would’ve laid my house on the line and said that there is no way that this particular representative sponsors this piece of legislation.  And it’s essentially the nursing home tax.  It’s the hospital tax only now it’s on nursing homes that it’s designed to do with the exact same thing.  It is designed to get more federal dollars into the state of Colorado.  People say, well yea but its federal dollars. I say it still comes out of my pocket. I don’t care for comes from the federal government, the state government, if its local, if it’s the school districts, county, I don’t care. It all comes out of my pocket.  It doesn’t matter to me if it’s on left side or the right side.  What happens down there?  You elect people who say I am going to support liberty. I am a defender of liberty and then it is if somebody comes up and says, “hey you know what? This bill is okay because…  And the rest of us are left scratching our heads thinking how on earth did somebody who is liberty minded think that is a good idea.  Is it lobbyists? Is the proximity? Is it familiarity?  What is it that happens down there?

Lundberg: A couple things I would say to that. One is that we get lost in the details.  Lost in the weeds. We don’t see the forest for all the trees if you will because somebody will say, Well this is a great idea and we have to have this bill and you’ll have two or three citizens come up and have a very extraordinary circumstance where this new law would have cured the problem.  Here’s an example and that is regulation of tow truck operations on the side of the road.  There was a very very unfortunate tragedy that occurred down in the Colorado Springs area where somebody drove off while the tow truck operator was trying to get their car towed and I believe in this situation it was not because the car broke down but because of some infraction of the law that they had to get their car towed.  Person drivers off in their car and literally drags the tow truck operator to death.  Because he got tangled up in the cords and the cables and the like.  Terrible terrible situation.  Well, here’s the fix. That we are going to now further regulate what you do around tow trucks.  If a tow truck is park along the side of the highway with the lights flashing you now have to give them an extra lane just like you do with police pulling someone over.  Very prudent thing to do but because we put it in a law its now going to be forcing people to make more unsafe decision.  I was in a wreck. Well actually I wasn’t… ironically Rep. DelGrosso was because he was about three cars in front of me. I was almost in the wreck because of a vehicle trying to avoid some flashing lights on the side of the road.  We get lost in the weeds.  Now that’s one thing. The other is I would insist there is a huge political force down there which is kind of the status quo.  The government party if you will. All the lobbying interests of state governments and some big businesses that have so much control over the process that they can get their way.  Even though it is not in the best interest of the people.

Oliver: You know what that actually raises a great question.  That we have been discussing with some liberty minded folks. We are going to take a quick break care and come back and lets end on some good news.  But I do also want to share with folks what some of us in the liberty movement have been talking about doing to try and make liberty something this is familiar to lawmakers during the legislative session.

Oliver: We did spend way too much time on the bad news. Kevin I do like to finish off… let’s finish off with some good news.  What good things happened down at the state capitol this year?

Lundberg: Well first I have to thank you for giving me this opportunity to share with you most weeks here because it is really an important part of the process to keep people informed and in touch.  So I think one of the good news items is we have people like yourself that are out there in places to get the news out to what is happening good or bad.  First off I would say you are a piece of good news in this political process.

Oliver: Well thanks!

Lundberg: At the capitol, a few of the things we did.  Let me start with one that we didn’t do and wasn’t publicized but I consider it a piece of good news.  For several years I have been fighting this notion that every sheriff must turn over all concealed carry information to a statewide database.  There are a few sheriffs that would agree with me. You know one pretty well.

Oliver: I do in fact; he will fall on his sword. Not his loaded gun, but he will fall on his sword for his opposition to that database.

Lundberg: Because sheriff’s need to be making these decisions and keeping this information within their own county. Anyways, the good news is that requirements or that component of providing this information for a statewide database sunsets Jul. 1st and there was no legislation to change that.

Oliver: Why didn’t that. We talked about that in private and it’s funny because I kept thinking we were saying, Well…if we bring it up.

Lundberg: Somebody’s going to run a bill. Well nobody ran a bill.

Oliver: So the database is going to sunset. It’s going to go away.

Lundberg: I read the law this morning just to remind myself. Its in the title18 section 2… Oh boy. Ill get in trouble if I go much further.

Oliver: That’s okay will go with title 18.

Lundberg: It’s 18 12 something.  Anyway, that’s one. Here’s another one. The Ag tax, one of the dirty dozen tax increases that were put in place last year. We on the Republican side were able to extricate a repeal of that as a part of the budget deal this year.  And that’s good news for some farm and livestock operations.  To many it was more of a nuisance tax but to others it was a significant economic problem and anyway we got so that it will go away Jul. 1st.

Oliver: And actually that is a big huge deal for folks in Larimer and…really Weld County and the northeastern planes for whom agriculture.  If you’re going to buy large piece of equipment they were going to Wyoming are they’re going to Nebraska or they are going to Kansas where they can purchase it without having to pay the sales tax.

Lundberg: Well, the dairy industry has really been under the gun economically in the last few years and this was just one more straw in the camels back. As some cost were given to their supplies became kind of a joke in some sense but semen was placed as a taxable item and for livestock producers and the dairy men that is an essential part of their business.  It was a big big-ticket item for them.  So there’s another one. In that deal it was also agreed that would remove the sales tax from software development programs.  The vendor fee…this is kind of a complicated thing. This is a good thing. It is a fee that retail vendors are allowed to keep for the service of processing sales tax collection.  We took that away and said you are going to do it for free now.  So it was kind of a back door tax that was put on retail businesses.  Part of the budget deal was to start reinstating that fee or in essence removing that tax on business.

Oliver: That is good news and I want to say this Kevin.  I just want to ask one question and we can leave it at this. Certainly I want to touch base over the summer and find out how some of these things are playing out.  In the budget of the upcoming fiscal year are we going to spend more or less than we did in the previous year?

Lundberg: There are so many different numbers on that.  The general fund was actually reduced by a small amount. It wasn’t this billion dollars.  That’s a false member that well $1 billion cut meant $1 billion less than how they wanted to grow the budget.  Federal dollars seem to always grow because of that fourteen plus trillion dollar debt you talked about earlier.  The budget actually overall is pretty much holding its own as where it was last year.  So that is good news.  And honestly we had a better budget this year within the other nine years or eight years I was down there.  I still didn’t support because I believe we some fundamental structural changes before we are really budgeting properly.  We got the best we could from a split Legislature this year.  And so that’s good.

Oliver: And you know what Kevin I was hoping maybe next week we can do one more and I don’t know what your plans are if you can do next week maybe we can do it another Monday.

Lundberg: I’m game I will do it.

Oliver: Okay here is what I would like to talk about.  Gov. Hickenlooper where he is with, from her perspective, from a liberty person’s perspective… Gov. Hickenlooper’s first legislative session.

Lundberg: Excellent question because there is a real mixed message in all of that and I think we need to know.

Oliver: Great and we will look forward to doing this next Monday.