Grassroots Radio Colorado, Dave Pigott, June 1, 2012

Station:    560 AM, KLZ

Show:      Grassroots Radio Colorado

Guest:      Pigott


Date:        June 1, 2012

Topics:     House District 33, Jobs, Economy, Regulations, Small Business Owners, Superior, Erie, Broomfield, Weld County, Diane Primavera, Hickenlooper, PERA Reform, Defined Contributions, Guaranteed Returns, Obamacare, ACA, Commerce Clause, 1361, 1291,  Domestic Energy Production, Natural Gas, Coal, Craig, Dirty Dozen Clean Air

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JASON WORLEY:  Dave Pigott, welcome to the show.

DAVE PIGOTT:  Hey Jason and Ken, [it’s] good to be on with you.

KEN CLARK:  Well, welcome aboard, sir. How is the campaign trail going?

PIGOTT:  Ah, it’s fantastic. I’m actually on it as we speak. I’ve been pounding the pavement in Precinct 12, here, in Broomfield all afternoon. And as soon as we’re done chatting with you guys, where can get right back out there and keep talking to voters.

WORLEY:  Well, and that is the key. It is all retail politics. It is all, “hey, how many hands can I shake? How many people can i talk to to let them know what I actually believe?” So, what are you actually talking to the people about? What you hearing back?

PIGOTT:  Hey, the number one concern out there–I think everybody’s heard it by now, is jobs and the economy, jobs and the economy, jobs and the economy. You know, people want to know, and what am I going to do? What can we do as a legislature? What can we do as a state? What impact does the federal government have on creating jobs and getting this economy moving again? That’s what people want hear about. That’s what we’re talking about at each and every door.

WORLEY:  I’m really curious. Because obviously, here in Colorado, jobs and the economy has slightly been overshadowed because of the governor and the special session on social issues going on. We don’t have to go into that, specificially.  But I’m curious as to how much about that you are hearing. Because you’re calling on Republicans and independents, pretty much, right?

PIGOTT:  Absolutely. And this is something that we can talk a little bit about if you like.  House District 33 is about as competitive the district as you could possibly make. It’s 34% Republicans, 33% Democrat, and 33% unaffiliated.

WORLEY:  [Chuckles] Margin of error district!

PIGOTT:  Oh yeah, absolutely. So, we’re out there targeting those unaffiliateds, that really haven’t made up their mind, people who haven’t said, “I’m hard-core for this party, I’m hard-core for that party.” You know, a lot of folks who are just interested in what we can do to get this economy moving again.

WORLEY:  So, what are you hearing from them?

PIGOTT:  Well, they certainly don’t like what’s been going on up until now. They see a lot of interference, they see a lot of meddling. And frankly, they don’t like it. And these are capable people.  You know, I think in politics we tend to start talking about large groups, rather than the individual, and both sides do it. You know, we talk about Republicans as a group, unaffiliateds as a group, Democrats as a group. But when you really get down to it, and you talk to individual voters like you’ve got to do, particularly at the state level, you find out that these are smart people. They know what’s going on. They know what it takes. They know that they’re capable of improving their lives, of raising their families, of building their communities. They don’t need government to do it for them.  They are looking for folks who are going to get in there and let them do what they know how to do.

CLARK:  Most people that I talk to — and see if this relates to what you’ve been seeing. Most people that I talk to simply want the government to get the noose off of their neck and get out of their way, because the government creates most of the obstacles–not all, but most of the obstacles that businesspeople run into today.

PIGOTT:  Absolutely. And you know, a lot of these particularly unaffiliated voters and frankly Republican and Democrat’s– they are small business owners. And they are folks who make their livelihood based on their ability to provide a good or provide a service and grow their business over time. And what I hear time and time again is, it’s not just the regulations, it’s not just the taxation — it’s the uncertainty. It’s the fact that from one session to the next I have no idea what the regulatory regime, that I will be asked to comply with, will look like. And when they don’t have that certainty, when they don’t know what it’s going to look like from year-to-year, investment capital dries up. They start depositing cash reserves instead of investing that money. They don’t expand, they sit on it until they get enough certainty that they can grow. And we’re just not seeing it. It only seems to be getting worse at both the state and federal level. Constant changes in government are creating tremendous levels of uncertainty. And businesses are not growing as a result.

WORLEY:  You are listening to Dave Pigott, candidate for HD 33 — all of Broomfield, a little bit of Superior, — what else is in there, Dave?

PIGOTT:  Actually, it’s all of Superior. And it’s the half of the town of the Erie that falls in Boulder County. They decided that I shouldn’t get the Weld County half of Erie, which is a shame –good folks over there. But we’ve got great folks in HD 33.  The whole thing actually looks like a bull moose, if you look at it.  It’s kind of funny.

[WORLEY talk about maps and redistricting and re-apportionment, “cute” gerry-mandering by judges and getting to know new constituents… in Boulder]

KEN:  Well, Dave, I did have a question for you.  We’ve got — and I understand the uncertainty, because everybody’s feeling it. And so you’ve got a basically perfect storm brewing, coming at us in 2013.  Hopefully we’ll have a new administration.  Hopefully we’ll have a Republican controlled Senate in the state of Colorado and we’ll hold the majority in the house. But you’ve got a perfect storm. You’ve got Obamacare, with all of its nasty little issues coming at us in 2013. You’ve got Amy care. You’ve got the exchanges, here in the state of Colorado.  They are going to force businesses into that and increase their costs, or they are just going to drop it as far as providing health care for their employees. You’ve got the tax cuts on the federal level that are set to expire in 2013. You’ve got PERA, which we can’t seem to get reformed here in the state of Colorado, that has got this unfunded mandate that is just massive. You’ve got unemployment insurance in the state of Colorado –

WORLEY:  We can’t even find out exactly what the unfunded mandates for PERA is.

CLARK:  You’ve got unemployment insurance that is doubling and tripling, like Susan has just said–

WORLEY:  500%!

CLARK:  –[that is] 500% in the last three years.  You’ve got all of these things coming at business owners, and our government in the state of Colorado, doesn’t help matters when they throw out Prop 103 things, and they want to do this subsidy, that subsidy to– have these preferred businesses.  I mean, on and on and on. What–

WORLEY:  [whispers] Gaylord Project–

CLARK:  Wait! Gaylord project! You bet! That’s perfect.

WORLEY:  That went down, right?

CLARK:  What kind of solutions are you offering to these people, when you are out there talking to them? Because, I mean, if nothing happens, this economy is going to get five times worse.

PIGOTT:  Well, you are absolutely right. And I think from the perspective of Obamacare I actually think that is going to be found unconstitutional.  You know, I spent a lot of time in the legal field, just kicking that one around. And I think that for two reasons. First, it actually happens to be unconstitutional. I mean, the limits of the Commerce Clause were never expected to be extended to the limits that they have, let alone to the limits that they are now trying to take it, which is essentially limitless.

WORLEY:  Well, Nancy Pelosi claims that it is ironclad because she knows the Constitution.


PIGOTT:  I–I– I’d be surprised if that’s true. I also think, just based on what I’ve come to understand about the leanings of the various judges, that it will come down to Kennedy and that he will side with the conservatives on this. So, that obviously, going back to the uncertainty we’ve been talking about, that will create some temporary uncertainty. But it’s kind of like ripping off a Band-Aid, at this point. You know, you’ve just got to get it gone so you can start to heal. But it will be interesting to see what solutions are available once we get into legislature in January.  And of course even if we are able to retain a majority in the house, which I absolutely intend on doing, and pull a majority in the Senate, we’ll still have a Democratic governor. Although, I would note that Governor Hickenlooper has been a bit more business-friendly than perhaps some other Democrats.  So I think it’s possible to get some stuff done even with him in the governor’s mansion.

CLARK:  Well yeah, and we do have some issues we need to take care of.  And the most glaring issue facing the state of Colorado right now is PERA reform. I mean, that is a issue that we can all see coming, we all know it’s there,–

WORLEY:  It’s the 800 pound gorilla that nobody’s talking about.

CLARK:  Yeah, and we all know that it’s going to bankrupt the state of Colorado if it’s not dealt with. And we can’t seem to get Republicans–Glenn Vaad, for instance.  I mean, we can’t even get that guy to help out with PERA reform.  Do you have any ideas on that one?

PIGOTT:  Well, a lot of people when they talk about PERA reform like to talk about defined contribution. And that’s almost become a dirty word.  You know, you get people all riled up when you start talking about defined contribution.  But defined contribution isn’t going to be the whole solution. All that essentially does is it temporarily reduces the cost of the program by putting a little bit more in, and it creates a fixed reduction in benefits over time.  But the real challenge to PERA is that you have a guaranteed return. There is not a single private sector retirement account you’re going to find that has got a guaranteed return, because the market doesn’t have a guaranteed return, and that’s what all this is based on.  Any investment in the world, US Treasuries included, are going to have some fluctuation in their rate of return. And yet PERA doesn’t.  And until we allow the return to fluctuate to some extent with market forces, we’re constantly going to be running into this problem where the money that’s put in, regardless of where it comes from, isn’t going to earn the return that these employees have been promised when they signed up for the plan.  So it’s going to take some complex reform that goes beyond defined contribution.  And I’m not exactly sure what that’s ultimately going to look like, but it’s got to involve some fluctuation.

WORLEY:  Well, I’ll tell you right now what it’s to take. It’s going to take Scott Walker making sure he keeps this recall election, because then you will actually see governors and state representatives have the will to say to these unions, “To hell with what you’re doing!  You cannot bankrupt the citizens of this state! You cannot do this!  You are going to kill us all and put us in slave chains!”  That’s what it is.  We’ll be right back with Dave Pigott.

CLARK:   […] So David, welcome back to grassroots radio.

PIGOTT:  Hey thanks. Thanks for having me.

CLARK:  We were just on a roll as far as PERA is concerned. But one of the things–and I’m sure you are aware of this, but we want our listeners to be aware–the PERA board is made up of a bunch of people that are recipients, they are PERA beneficiaries.

WORLEY:  Yeah. [laughs]

CLARK:  And Walker [Stapleton] was the only one, in my opinion that’s on that board–

WORLEY:  Walker Stapleton, state treasurer to be clear.

CLARK:  Yeah. And he’s got a great background in finance. This guy really knows his stuff. He knows exactly what he wants to get done with key ERA, and he can’t get anywhere. He just cannot get anywhere. One thing they did do, Dave, I don’t know if you are aware, they weren’t seeing the long-term returns that they were needing in order for PERA to be solvent. So they took the rate of return–I believe it was seven-point-6%, and bumped it up to 8%.  And they just pulled that number out of the air. And so then everything looked much, much better. The deficits they were running long-term out into the future didn’t look as bad.  They pulled that number out of the air. You tell me where on this planet right now anybody can get an 8% return.

WORLEY:  Guaranteed

PIGOTT:  [laughs] I can’t do it. I don’t know where you can get near 8% rate, unless you work for a payday lender, or you are on the receiving side of VISA or MasterCard.

CLARK:  Guido and Rocco—

WORLEY:  yeah, there might be some loan sharks out there who—

CLARK:  Guido and Rocco, I think, are getting about 8% but that’s about it. There isn’t any place you can go. We just talked about in our very first segment how the market and this last week has lost all of the 2012 games. You think the mutual funds are doing well? You think Oppenheimer is really having a great day? I don’t think so.

WORLEY:  Do you think that all the money that PERA has out there invested—

CLARK:  […] oh yeah! PERA just took a hit as well. If you want a guaranteed rate of return, you’re talking 1.2%.

PIGOTT:  Absolutely. You know we made the analogy to loan sharks, thank you guys in your listeners probably know better than anybody that really what we’re talking about when we talk about government is the use of force and the “legal application” of it.  It’s not a complete joke to look at these people and their mentality and to appreciate the fact that they have force behind what they are doing. And if they want to use it to collect on a debt, hey, they can do it.


[WORLEY talkS about Pigott being committed for National Guard training during the upcoming weekend, and therefore unable to be present at an event that Worley invited him to]

WORLEY:  Actually, this is the fun part of my job. I get to give your opponent some free press. And this is from compass –“Job killer Diane Primavera.”  Let’s see,  “Career”.  She was a former state representative, so she wants to get right back into state government. So much for that, you know, part-time citizen legislator thing. “State rep Diane Primavera voted for over $2 billion in new taxes during her career in politics.”  That’s only four years, two terms.  She voted for the mill levy freeze to raise property taxes by 1.1 billion. She voted for 590 million dollar hospital tax, which raised fees on healthcare providers and sick Coloradans, and for the $265 million car registration tax that negatively impacted every car owner in Colorado. About is money–if you’re listening to this, that’s money that’s coming directly out of your pocket. Dave, how do you feel about raising taxes on Coloradans?

PIGOTT:  I’m opposed to it. And for that matter, I’m opposed to disguising taxes and fees. And I would add one other thing to that list that you just mentioned. Because this is often overlooked. There was vote to limit the net operating loss carryover tax deduction. Now that might not mean a whole lot to the folks in their personal income tax, but to a small business owner,  that is huge. That is an absolute job killer. That will send them to other states faster than anything.

WORLEY:  So, let’s go back. Let’s go deeper on that. Explain that a little bit more. Why does that matter to the everyday citizen, because it’s going to roll downhill.  So explain to them what that meant to the small business owner.

PIGOTT:  Absolutely. Well, most people understand that when you’re trying to get a business off the ground you have a great deal of expenses on the front end, that you try and work back through profitable years — three, four, five years down the road. And there’s an net operating loss tax deduction carryover, which says that if you lose $1 million in your first year of operating, you can deduct—you can spread that out as a tax deduction over a series of subsequent years, to make sure that you’re getting that money back. And essentially, what it does, is it gets small businesses from the red into the black faster than it otherwise would. And that’s important to everybody in Colorado because making that jump in 3 years versus 5 years can mean the difference between a business surviving, and the business failing;  a business employing a few more workers, and a business firing their only two workers. And, it can mean the difference between getting a Gino’s pizza for 10 bucks or a Gino’s pizza for 15. It all affects the ultimate price of goods and services in Colorado, and not obviously affects the amount of consumption that we as individual consumers get to do, and our quality of life depends on. Like you said, it all rolls downhill.

WORLEY:  And then part of the unseen that nobody realizes is that if you get rid of that, then what happens is a small business looking to –.  Let’s say there’s somebody who says, “you know what, I’m tired of living in California. But I want to start a new business, I’ve got a great idea, I’m breaking off from one of these big guys in California, and I’m going to go to a new state that I think is absolutely beautiful, and I’m going to start a company. Colorado just gets scratched off that list because the cost of starting that company just becomes greater over the first five years.

CLARK:  Well, unless you are a Hollywood movie producer because they will give you tax credits and subsidies if you want come into Colorado and shoot a movie.

WORLEY:  Shoot a Gaylord—that didn’t work, sorry.  I’m having fun with the Gaylord thing because it was such a–Dave, I don’t know if you heard the news, but Gaylord declared bankruptcy, I believe it is, and the selling a lot of their properties off to Marriott. And they’re killing the Western Stock show project. It’s dead.

PIGOTT:  Oh, man!

WORLEY:  It’s dead.

PIGOTT:  No. I didn’t catch wind of that. I appreciate you giving me the heads — that’s, that’s too bad.

CLARK:  Yeah, and I wanted to talk to you about, real quick, I wanted to ask you about energy policy. Because right now we have got an all out assault on coal.   Craig, Colorado is a major, major problem. And Craig matters. Let’s face it. Craig matters. It is a cold producing town, it is an energy producing town.  Yesterday Jason and I spent a lot of time talking about how the Sierra Club is coming back into Colorado spending millions of dollars going after natural gas plants.  Now, we all remember 1365, our fuel switching.  They went from coal to natural gas, and everybody touted –

WORLEY:  And 1291 is the SIP [?] plan, which actually put the natural gas plant – basically, it is going to close down Craig.

CLARK:  Yeah. So now, the Sierra Club is coming in and saying, “wait wait wait! No natural gas either!” What do you make of all that?

PIGOTT:  Well, it just goes to show that you can never trust too long in politics. It’s a rough game, and everybody’s got a an interest.  Everybody’s got a card to play. Your ally one day is going to be your enemy the next. And he says the importance of getting honorable people elected to office. You know, but energy policy is important, and not just because of the jobs that it creates– although it creates a tremendous amount of jobs.  I mean, you’re talking to a guy who spent time fighting in the Middle East. You know, domestic energy production is very important to me on a personal level. But it is also important on an individual basis, getting to work.  We talked about helping the poor, you know. And everybody wants to help the poor, you know. Liberals like to talk about helping the poor all the time, you know. So, what are you doing about gas prices for single moms that are trying to get their kids to school early enough so that they can go to work for eight hours, come home, picked the kid back up after his afterschool program, get him home, put food on the table, and go do it all again the next day. You know, you can’t survive – you can’t make that work on six dollars a gallon.

WORLEY:  And then she’s got to go home and write the check for the energy bill that went up 33% over last year.

PIGOTT:  That’s right. You’re paying over $100 for the Xcel Bill. So now, instead of doing the healthy food that Michelle Obama keeps telling you your kid has to eat, you’re going to McDonald’s for the second time this week.  You know, it all comes down to the cost of living, and good, reliable, consistent energy production.  Domestic energy production is the key to stabilizing the energy market and making sure we have affordable energy for everybody, you know?

CLARK: Yeah, well, if Longmont gets their way they are going to ban fracking and –

WORLEY:  Yeah, we do have a piece to hit after this. Erie has got a few special interests coming in the door.  You’ll love–.  You’ve got to get–. The bad news is, we’ve got to let you get back knocking on doors because that’s the job of a politician who’s running.  So, wait –which is–, which is the 12th precinct? Where is that?

PIGOTT:  That is over by Broomfield high school, just north of Broomfield high school.

CLARK:  Perfect. And Dave, before you go, tell our listeners how they can get in touch with you. What’s your website, all that.

WORLEY:  How they can donate.

CLARK:  Yeah!

PIGOTT:  [laughter] Absolutely. My website is [spells out the URL].  You can Google Dave Pigott and get to it that way. But it is tremendously important that folks get on there and donate. My opponent has run for this seat five times before. She is well-connected. She’s got a great number of lobbyist friends. She’s got the unions turning out for her. She’s got Andrew Romanoff hosting in-home fundraisers for her. And we’ve got to compete with that. We’ve got to compete with that with our grassroots effort. And if you think that just because you don’t live in the house district 33, it’s not important to you – House District 33 is one of 5/6 seats that we’ve got to win to keep our majority in the state house. So, anywhere in Colorado, if you want a Republican majority in the General Assembly, we’ve got to win house district 33. It’s been a be close. Log on — Dave Make a donation. I’d appreciate it.