Jim HoffmanCONSIDER THISFree Press Opinion Columnist

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January 23, 2013
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HOFFMAN: King, Scott & Wright propose bills of no value

Our local representatives to the Colorado Legislature are busily introducing legislation that is sure to bolster our local economy, improve educational opportunity, and create jobs. Well, no, actually they are pursuing an agenda that produces no jobs, no economic activity, and has zero impact on education. Their proposals are the political equivalent of empty calories and are mere symbolism without substance.State Rep. Jared Wright has introduced HB-1045 which would prohibit local and state cooperation with federal authorities in the enforcement of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. The irony of this is that he seeks to derail one of the few examples of bipartisanship witnessed at the federal level with the last do-nothing Congress. We certainly applaud efforts against detention without charge, but this is not the vehicle or venue to effect change to that federal legislation.State Sen. Steve King also maintains an emphasis on law enforcement with a proposal to limit the powers of the U.S. Secret Service within the boundaries of our sovereign state (SB 13-013). This act would require that any Secret Service Agent making an arrest in the State of Colorado immediately relinquish that captive to a local or state law enforcement agency. This legislative effort, while well-intended has zero likelihood of being enacted. We seem to be hell bent on making political theatre, and insisting our representatives do the same; we end up with nothing in the plus column of achievement or advancement.State Rep. Ray Scott continues his quixotically challenged quest to eliminate the Office of Public Trustee, which would eliminate jobs but save money, or so he says. Face it, Ray, even in Mesa County there is no widespread interest in, or support for, this bill. Its only purpose is to continue waging a personal vendetta against a public trustee no longer in office. If passed in the end, we will see no savings, no new jobs; this is a do-nothing, accomplish-nothing bill. The battle for the advertising revenue from publishing foreclosure legal notices has been won; move on to topics of greater import.Scott has also introduced legislation which, according to his math, has the potential to bring 20,000 jobs to the Western Slope. He hopes that enactment of HB-1122 will result in 100 new rigs to the local gas patch and is quoted as saying each rig has the potential to create 200 jobs. In addition to waiving severance taxes on these new rigs until June 30, 2015, Scott also hopes to raise $35 million annually for education. Missing from his equation is the reality that even with waived fees, the value of natural gas remains higher than the cost of extraction, a situation not likely to stimulate extraction efforts. Given the fact his math skills and knowledge base both seem deficient we hold no hope for this legislative attempt which recycles a voter-defeated referendum, nor do we believe his inflated jobs per rig expectations.In the way of economic development we can probably expect Scott to re-introduce or co-sponsor special interest legislation to bring video lottery terminal gambling to Mesa County. This effort last year promised the creation of a major resort-type development with hundreds of jobs which would pay much less than promised and more restaurants. Namely, they want us to allow gambling that will benefit one private entity, create even more dead-end service sector jobs, and prove a detriment to our local character. Gambling is the lazy man's way to economic development. It creates none of the well paying manufacturing jobs our economy so sorely needs, and leeches money away from the valley, and away from hard-working families.Afterthought: Why are so many local folk against pot clubs and legal marijuana because it remains a federal crime while demanding that local cops take vows against enforcing federal law? Could we please have some consistency?---------------------------Jim Hoffman is a local Realtor and investor who, when not working, loves skiing, camping and fishing (in season). He may be reached at freepressjim@gmail.com.


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The Post Independent Updated Jan 23, 2013 07:55PM Published Jan 23, 2013 07:52PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.