The Grand Junction Sentinel headline today says it all: "Hickenlooper Proposes Huge Budget Cuts." Yes, while Colorado's new governor campaigned on promises of being an education governor, he has just proposed historically massive cuts to Colorado's already comparatively underfunded public schools. If that wasn't enough, he had the nerve to pretend he isn't choosing this path for his state, telling reporters "There's nothing I've ever grappled with as long and hard as" education cuts.
Evidently, we should all shed tears for the allegedly remorseful guv... except, we shouldn't. Because he's as much making this choice as circumstances are dictating it.
Yes, it's true - the new governor must propose a balanced budget and the legislature cannot raise revenues in the short-term. Thus, the education cuts. However, it is also true that this governor has been running around Colorado insisting he cares about education while simultaneously saying he opposes efforts to raise public revenues through any changes to Colorado's hideously regressive tax code.
That's right, two weeks ago, our millionaire governor said he wants to make taxes on his corporate friends even more regressive (read: lower) than they already are. Then last week, at the very moment he was putting the finishing touches on his huge education cuts, the governor said he would use his bully pulpit to oppose a ballot measure to make Colorado's income tax slightly more progressive and in the process raise revenues to close the state's budget gap. Though this ballot measure would mean the same or lower taxes for most households in Colorado, Hickenlooper apparently doesn't like that it would slightly raise taxes on his fellow millionaires - even though it would also rescue the schools he publicly purports to care about.
This is class solidarity at its most powerful - a millionaire politician going to the wall for his millionaire brethren, with the hope that if he just stages enough photo-ops wearing pajamas while reading to kids, everyone will forget what he's really all about.
But now it's all too obvious to ignore. When you put Hick's budget cuts next to his royalist posture on taxes, we see that when it comes to a choice between defending the extremely wealthy and saving the basic public services the rest of us non-millionaires rely on, our new governor has decided which side he's on: Not ours.
ADDENDUM: Two other points to note. First, if you believe Hick's mantra that tax cuts will create jobs, read this Associated Press story and then STFU. Also, isn't it telling that within the 24 hour period that these budget cuts were announced, Colorado Sen. Michael "Education Is My Priority" Bennet (ie. the former school superintendent) isn't protesting the cuts, but instead insisting that the Obama budget doesn't cut domestic spending enough? Oh, that's right, I forgot - he was just Sen. Education on the campaign trail - in Washington, he's more like Sen. Thurston Bennet the IIId. My bad.
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