To completely nobody’s shock Proposition 110, the gross sales tax enhance for thriller transportation initiatives, went down in flames Tuesday.

Contemplating that voters put progressives in each crevasse of state authorities, you’d suppose a tax hike for centrally-planned transit, bike paths and roads would have been interesting. However as soon as we on the Independence Institute put the competing initiative, Prop 109, Repair Our Rattling Roads (which didn’t increase taxes), on the poll, Prop 110 was completed. And everybody knew it. Actually. Everybody.

And nonetheless they put over $7 million into pimping the tax enhance. Why?

Voters didn’t wish to increase taxes, not less than not on a state-wide foundation. And by the equal shellacking our Prop 109 acquired, they don’t wish to go into debt for roads both. After all, I’d have most popular 109 gained, however that’s not the principle motive we put it on the poll.

I’ve been a political activist for practically 30 years in Colorado, and I’ve gained and misplaced political battles and discovered one thing new each time. What has struck me this yr is the unbelievable energy of cronyism and go-along-ism contained in the Denver energy construction. I imply, I’ve all the time identified it was unhealthy, however I’ve by no means seen something like this yr.

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Nobody inside this membership of particular pursuits and inside cash needed to face up and say, “the emperor has no garments, your tax enhance has NO probability, I’m not losing my cash on it.”

The emperor on this case is the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and the myriad of organizations, consultants and politicians that orbit it.

There are only a few secrets and techniques in politics. Like in most of life, just about all people is aware of nearly all the things. And in relation to polling everyone seems to be trying over everybody else’s shoulder to see what their ballot says.

So, what stunned me about Prop 110 is that just about the entire supporters appeared to comprehend it had no probability of profitable. Not a single polling agency confirmed this tax enhance passing, not even the polling agency the Denver Chamber itself used. However “supporters” nonetheless funneled hundreds of thousands to the trouble, as a result of, as I’ve discovered, that’s simply the price of doing enterprise in Denver.

How do I do know so many monetary backers of the Chamber’s tax enhance knew it didn’t have an opportunity? Properly, as a result of a number of them instructed me personally. Politically talking, Denver remains to be a small city.

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I’m nonetheless making an attempt to wrap my thoughts round an influence construction that’s so intimidating that associations, contractors, bond sellers, political consultants and reporters all acknowledge political actuality — {that a} state-wide tax enhance for unspecified highway and transit initiatives had no probability of passage whereas a competing measure was on the poll — but refused to face up and simply say so as a result of they feared the Chamber and its robust ties with the governor’s workplace and metropolis governments across the metro space.

However then once more when your bread and butter comes from governmental spending, why threat upsetting the system? When the Chamber calls for you set cash into their trigger, you do, or threat hurting your corporation.

It’s known as a shakedown.

Denver has by no means been extra like Chicago. You pay your tribute or threat falling out of favor. The distinction could also be that in Chicago the shakedowns occur behind closed doorways. In Denver it occurs out within the open. It’s simply enterprise as regular.


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