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2008-2010 Articles

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Tax hikes will not fix budget crisis

Every year hundreds of bills are passed by the Colorado General Assembly and not given a second thought. That was not the case with last year's major car tax, dubbed FASTER, which raised taxes by $250 million annually and increased vehicle registration fees by an average of $36 per car.

This tax hits hardest on those who can least afford to pay it. Coloradans were stunned by the increase, especially the punitive $100 late fee.

When the car tax was first implemented this summer, people were so upset by the change in policy that some counties hired armed guards to provide security for Motor Vehicle Department offices. Prior to FASTER, counties had the option of assessing a $10 fee for late registration.

Despite the crushing recession, the car tax was not the only tax hike passed by Democrats last year. Democrats levied $1 billion in new taxes and fees on Colorado families, including a $90 million property tax increase on seniors, a $30 million tax hike on small businesses, a new half-billion dollar tax on the state's hospitals and a $40 million tax increase on capital.

Failing to understand that tax hikes are not the best way to stimulate the economy, Democrats have proposed millions more in tax increases for 2010. Republicans, on the other hand, believe the best approach to economic recovery is to prioritize and reduce government spending.

In 2009, the car tax was pitched to the public as a last resort to fix Colorado's roads and 125 structurally deficient bridges. At the start of 2010, seven months after the measure went into effect, all 125 bridges remain in disarray. Revenue generated by the car tax has not yet resulted in the repair of a single bridge.

When debating the car tax last year, Democrats ignored the hundreds of millions of transportation dollars that were supposed to be generated by Referendum C, a 2005 ballot measure that was sold as a way to repair crumbling roads and fund higher education.

After misleading voters about Ref. C, the car tax merely added insult to injury. Democrats couldn't even wait for Ref. C to expire before swindling taxpayers out of more money under the guise of another transportation crisis.

Clearly the problem is not funding; it is priorities. Democrats have been on a spending binge since gaining unfettered power in 2006 and have largely ignored Colorado's transportation needs.

As Colorado families have had to tighten their belts, so too should government. It was wrong of the Democratic majority to raise taxes and fees by $1 billion during the midst of the worst recession in decades. That is why my first bill aims to, at least partially, right that wrong by repealing portions of the car tax, starting with the $100 late fee.

I am also proposing an educational tax credit bill, which will give parents more freedom to choose the best school for their children and save the state millions of dollars during a time when its need is greatest. Another cost savings measure I am proposing will reform Medicaid by giving seniors more choices for meeting their medical needs and potentially save the state millions of dollars.

Our deficit can be fixed by coupling the proper reforms with prioritized spending. Tax hikes are not the solution to Colorado's budget crisis.

Senator Kevin Lundberg
January 19, 2010
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Copenhagen Conference

Read this article in the papers:

The Denver Post

The Coloradoan

Full Text:

As everyone continues to jump on the "going green" bandwagon, I have been a fan of renewable energy since the 1970's and carefully followed developments in that field for the past 35 years.

Eventually, I became more than a fan. In the mid-90's I designed and built my own home to be as energy efficient and self-sufficient as possible. It is earth-bermed, super-insulated, heated by passive solar, and powered by photovoltaic panels and wind generators. In the decade since building my home, I have personally experienced what renewables can and cannot do to improve our world and our lives.

Believe me, the challenges are many and the cost is great. Yet, I remain devoted to the advancement of renewable energy.

That is why I am appalled by what has been proposed at the world climate conference in Copenhagen. The world leaders that met at this UN sponsored conference are flirting with economic and political disaster. They are basing policy decisions on the mistaken notion that man-made carbon dioxide is destroying the planet. Never mind the facts.

Carbon dioxide is actually not a pollutant. It is a minute part (less than one-twentieth of one percent) of the atmosphere and is essential for life on this planet. Water vapor is at least ten times as abundant, and by far the most pervasive "greenhouse gas." Regardless of our "carbon footprint", the planet will, in all probability, continue to go through natural cycles of warming and cooling. There is also no evidence that the computer models global warming is based on, like the ones Al Gore likes to use in his documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," are capable of meaningful and accurate predictions decades into the future.

Economic calamity awaits us if energy is rationed to a fraction of today's consumption. An incredible cost will be paid with our dearly bought freedoms when all of these mandates are enforced by not only our own government but also by self-appointed international authorities.

Reducing our "carbon footprint" through the strong arm of government will force everyone into a strict rationing program. Our standard of living will drop. It will be difficult for all, and impossible for some. By diverting our resources to this all-out effort to abandon our abundant and less expensive energy sources, we will jeopardize our way of life and threaten the very lives of those around the world who are currently living on the edge of survival.

It is also absurd to think that our faltering economy will be able to withstand the additional stress. The mandates that global warming alarmists are demanding will drive prices much higher, run whole industries out of business and destroy millions of jobs.

Promoting renewable energy and cleaner energy sources is a good thing, but only if it is a blessing to our people. Forcing us all to live on less, at a much greater expense, is not good public policy-it is the exact opposite.

We should reject the plans laid out by the UN climate conference in Copenhagen. This conference bet everything on the single, unproven theory that man-made carbon dioxide is the sole determining factor for global warming and cooling.

I agree with the thousands of scientists that have signed on to the Global Warming Petition Project, which states publicly their misgivings about current global warming theories. At the very best, man-made global warming is an unproven scientific theory that has yet to be demonstrated as true.

The talks that took place in Copenhagen are not a step forward for the people of our great nation or renewable energy technologies; they are alarmist and a grandiose attempt to grab raw political power by those who hold extreme and dangerous political opinions.

If we embrace renewable energy technologies and use them wisely, our economy will be strengthened, and we will no doubt find new opportunities. But don't just take my word for it, or Al Gore's. Study this critical issue yourself and then hold your elected representatives accountable for their actions on this significant issue.

Senator Kevin Lundberg
December 18, 2009

Photo: Wind Turbine by Petr Kratochvil

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Udall McCain Senate Hearing in Estes Park

The hearing Senator Udall and Senator McCain conducted in Estes Park concerning climate change, Rocky Mountain National Park, and our other national parks was reported by some as a proof for global warming. Having attended the hearing myself, I found that to not be the case.

Throughout the hearing it was obvious that both senators assumed anthropogenic carbon dioxide is the primary reason for any changes that occur to our local climate. That assumption, however, was never substantiated or allowed to be challenged. Senator Udall stated at the beginning of the meeting that they were not going to discuss or debate any of the merits of the global warming argument.

I can understand his desire for a focused discussion on the problems in the Park, but I find it a bit troubling to intentionally steer away from discussing such a fundamental assumption.

The panelists scheduled for the hearing also talked as if they had no serious concerns with the global warming theory as the principle cause for changes in the ecological balance in Rocky Mountain National Park. However, again, no statistical, or other compelling evidence was mentioned that demonstrated a cause and effect between global warming and the greatest immediate problem for the Park today, the bark beetle infestation. The best case they made was to cite the stress of the recent drought and some mild winters.

The local drought, that no longer is with us, and some recent mild winters that favored the growth of bark beetle populations have very distant correlations to the theories that anthropomorphic carbon dioxide is warming our planet at a dangerous rate.

If global warming is the main reason for the bark beetle outbreak today, what explanation is there for the bark beetle problems Colorado had in the 1970s? Though not quite as widespread, I remember the bark beetle devastation southwest of Denver at that time. Back then a drive down U.S. 285 showed the same tree kill as a trip along I-70 does today. How could that have been, as Colorado temperatures were, in the 1970s, at the lowest point we have seen in the past 80 years?

Additionally, to implement the course of action that global warming advocates urge, we must reduce carbon dioxide at virtually any cost. This will do little to help alleviate the bark beetle epidemic we are experiencing in Colorado today. The only direct effect would be to divert that much more of the money we could use to address the immediate ecological needs of our national parks.

In the brief moment I had with both of the senators I encouraged them to push the Federal Government to be better stewards of our forests here in Colorado. We know how to develop healthy forests that are able to withstand bark beetles, but we have instead allowed dense monocultures of mature trees to grow, which are the most vulnerable to disease and fire.

If this hearing was just another bully pulpit for the global warming advocates, it was not a step forward for the people of Colorado.

If the Federal Government ends up working harder to maintain healthy forests, then the hearing in Estes Park will have been a success. I trust that will ultimately be the case.

Kevin Lundberg
August 24, 2009

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The Price of Gas

The price of gas is too high. Everyone knows that, but what can we do about it?

To correct the problem, we need to aggressively work toward energy independence. Renewable energy will dominate the future of energy supply. However, while we are working toward that future, it is not here yet. We need to recognize that traditional energy sources currently provide most of our energy supply. We can't cut ourselves off from traditional sources until the technology needed to replace it with renewables is available and economically viable.

In 2007, the Colorado legislature removed the words "encourage and promote" from the oil and gas commission's mission statement. Since the change was put in place, the commission is developing policies that are going to hurt the growth and development of oil and gas resources here in Colorado. As I warned last year, this was a drastic change in policy that is contributing to the high prices we see today.

If we have sufficient oil and gas energy supplies, we will have an economy that is robust enough to fully research and develop renewable energy resources for the future. But if we choke off those supplies, we will not have the economic capacity to develop renewable energy technologies for future generations.

Colorado has the potential to be a world-class leader in energy production and be on the front-line for our nation's drive for energy independence. We have tremendous oil, gas, oil shale, and coal reserves. These valuable resources should be utilized for the benefit of us all.

Kevin Lundberg
June 16, 2008
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Windsor Tornado

About 36 hours ago the town of Windsor was changed forever. A devastating tornado ripped through the east side of town, destroying or severely damaging hundreds of buildings. In all of its history Colorado has never seen such a tornado. The property loss was huge, but at the same time, the human casualties were remarkably low. One man was killed in another part of Weld county, and in Windsor only a few dozen minor injuries have been reported. We can all be thankful for the miraculous protection of the people of Windsor.

As the state representative for the people in Windsor I surveyed the worst hit areas with the mayor, town council and U.S. Senator Allard, walked through some of the streets and talked with several residents with Congresswoman Musgrave, met with the governor and the local, state and Federal officials managing the recovery process and participated in a townhall meeting with hundreds Windsor residents. Through all of this I was impressed with the positive attitude of everyone and the commitment they all have to restoring Windsor and its people to the great community it has always been.

It is impossible to convey the magnitude of destruction that I have seen. Pictures even fail to capture the moment. When I saw the blocks of houses that used to be a friendly neighborhood which are now only broken shells and ripped apart trees I was stunned. The damage to commercial buildings, power lines, signs and even the cemetery is also difficult to take in. I know that it will be a long and difficult road for many people to recover from, yet the spirit and determination I saw in the people of Windsor gives me hope that this will be a challenge they will overcome and this community has its brightest days ahead.

Pray for the people of Windsor. Join me in expressing thanks for their protection and pray for their endurance in this difficult time. May we also pull together with them to help our neighbors in Windsor fully recover.

Kevin Lundberg
May 24, 2008
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"2011 Taxpayer Champion"
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