What’s the difference, you say?

Between Democrats and Republicans, that is. You’ve heard it, there’s not a dimes worth of difference between the two major parties so what’s it matter who you vote for? That might not be said as much as it used to be but it’s still a major theme in the minds of many people. But if you had been following the changing political scene in Wisconsin for the past two years you could not possibly still believe there is not enough difference between the two parties to matter to most voters.

Two years ago Wisconsin was under total control of Democrats, as it had been for decades. In the 2010 election the Badger state made a sea change, throwing the Democrats out and replacing them with Republicans in the governor’s mansion and both houses of the state legislature. Maybe the sorry state of Wisconsin’s finances was the reason. It was bleeding red everywhere, taxes were proceeding higher on a steady pace, and the political structure was a shambles. The government workers’ unions, especially the teachers’ union, seemed to running the state like a third world dictator.

Republicans, under the leadership of Republican governor Scott Walker, turned everything around for the better in near record time, showing that even when things have been run into the ground for decades the right policies can usually fix it or at least make it a lot better. Walker and his Republican colleagues reformed the state budget, reigned in the teachers union, and lowered many state property taxes. Voila! Revenue is up, unemployment has come down a little, the state budget is balanced, and many homeowners have seen a reduction in their property taxes. Education is also improved with new rules for teachers. There is hope these improvements in public education will continue and the day may come when people in Wisconsin can once again be proud of the public schools they entrust with their childrens’ education.

So yeah, there is a whole more than a dime’s worth of difference between Republicans and Democrats.

Colorado is another example of how even just a one extra Republican vote in the state legislature can make a mountain of difference in how well government works in the best interest of the people. Colorado didn’t make a complete change the way Wisconsin did. Colorado still has a Democrat governor (not quite as radical left as the former one, thankfully), the state Senate is Democrat, but in 2010 the voters gave the Republicans a one-vote majority in the State House of Representatives. That’s not enough power for Republicans to make the sort of needed improvements that were seen in Wisconsin, but Republicans did a pretty good job anyway, working with what they had. Here is former Colorado State Senator Mark Hillman, to explain:

* The state budget is actually balanced!

The constitution requires it, but during the previous four years, Democrats passed budgets that were balanced only on paper, propped up with spending gimmicks and accounting tricks. Republicans actually matched expenditures to revenues, restored the Senior Homestead Exemption, and rebuilt budget reserves!
* Taxpayers are now protected from runaway “fees”!

Democrats know they can no longer short-cut the constitution and insult voters with taxes disguised as “fees.” In four years of unrestrained Democrat control, Coloradans were smothered with more than $1 billion in “fees” and never once allowed to vote on them, as our constitution requires.

* Democrat Gov. John Hickenlooper often acts . . . well, a lot different than Bill Ritter!

You can bet the new Governor is relieved – but don’t expect him to say so out loud – that the Republican House majority stops the goofy bills passed by the Senate Democrats before they ever reach his desk.

* Three of the Democrats’ Dirty Dozen tax increases were repealed!

This is particularly impressive given that Republicans convinced Democrats to roll back some of their own terribly unpopular tax-and-spend policies passed during Gov. Bill Ritter’s “reign of error.”

* Trial lawyers hit a brick wall!

Trial lawyers and their Democrat lackeys are constantly trying to making it easier to sue more businesses for more money. Like their leader in the White House, many Democrat legislators have no business experience and treat employers like punching bags – rather than job creators and the engine of our economy. Bad news for trial lawyers is good news for Colorado!

That’s a pretty impressive accomplishment considering the Republicans have just one vote in the State House of Representatives with which to stop Democrats.

Democrats are doing what they always do when they can’t get their agenda passed through the Democratic process. They are going to court to get liberal judges to enact it for them, by judicial decree.

It is a tenant of United States Constitution that courts decide only “cases and controversies.” This has always been interpreted to mean that judges decide those cases and controversies on legal principles, and that they do not decide political questions. The Constitution reserves those questions to the people and their elected representatives. Political questions are said to not present “justiciable” issues and therefore it is wholly inappropriate for courts to interfere.

Several years ago the citizens of Colorado adopted by referendum an amendment to the Colorado Constitution to place therein a Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights (TABOR) providing that state tax increases must be approved by a vote of the people. Colorado is not alone in that, several other states have similar laws. Politicians, mostly Democrats, hate it. They have tried to get rid of it repeatedly. Sometimes they get the Colorado Supreme Court to strike down its application by declaring something to be a “fee” and not a “tax,” and thus not subject to TABOR. Chief Justice John Roberts is not alone in using subterfuge with words to get the result he wants.

But not satisfied, Democrats want the whole idea of TABOR to be stricken out of the state Constitution so they’ve taken their case to Federal court to get TABOR ruled unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution. If ever there was a case that a court should not consider on grounds it does not present a justiciable issue, and is a purely political question, this is it. Nevertheless, one of the Democrats’ liberal buddies in the Federal judiciary in Colorado has just ruled that the case presents a justiciable issue under the Constitutional guarantee of a republican [small “r”] form of government in which laws are made by elected representatives and not by the people. Thus, if TABOR had been enacted as a state statute rather than an an amendment to the Constitution in a referendum by the people, it would be safe from the Federal courts.

If this judge is correct, then the whole concept of referendum, recall and initiative, a doctrine that has existed in America since its founding, is unconstitutional.

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