Gov. candidates clash over measures |

Gov. candidates clash over measures

COLORADO SPRINGS – At a debate Saturday, Colorado gubernatorial candidates Tom Tancredo and Dan Maes clashed over November ballot measures to reduce taxes and fees, accusing each other of vacillating.

Maes, the GOP candidate, accused Tancredo of changing his position four times. Tancredo told Maes he can’t count, and Maes asked Tancredo, “What are you today: a fraud, a liar or a statesman?”

Tancredo said Saturday he supports measures that would reduce automobile and telecommunication taxes and another that would cancel tax-limit overrides, but only partially supports a plan to limit municipal borrowing. In the past, he said he would support a phased-in approach for all three.

Maes said any tax or fee increases should go to the voters.

Democrat John Hickenlooper said he opposes all three measures because they would create “a voter-approved recession.”

The tax-cutting measures are Proposition 101, which would reduce automobile and telecommunications taxes; Amendment 60, which would cancel voter-approved tax-limit overrides; and Amendment 61, which would limit municipal borrowing and bar state debt.

The debate before Action 22, a coalition of southeastern counties, also included candidates for attorney general, treasurer and secretary of state. Incumbent Democratic Treasurer Cary Kennedy and Republican Walker Stapleton and attorney general candidates John Suthers, a Republican, and Democratic challenger Stan Garnett all opposed the three ballot measures.

Maes drew boos from the crowd when he criticized Tancredo for supporting legalizing marijuana and taxing it. “Regulate it, tax it – it’s the best way to deal with a system that is now overwhelmed,” Tancredo said.

“How about we prostitute our daughters and tax that,” Maes responded, drawing a gasp from the crowd. The three men also disagreed over illegal immigration, with Hickenlooper saying it would be a mistake for all 50 states to have different rules and that pressure should be put on the federal government to do its job.

Tancredo and Maes said the federal government isn’t doing its job and states should pass laws to protect themselves.

Secretary of State Bernie Buescher, a Democrat, and Republican Scott Gessler disagreed over a new federal law requiring ballots be mailed to overseas military servicemembers 45 days before the election. The federal government ordered Colorado to comply or face a possible federal takeover of its election.

Gessler said there was no reason for Colorado to seek the waiver.

Buescher said his office was facing three lawsuits: one over whether Tancredo should be on the ballot, one over a health care initiative rejecting new federal health care mandates, and a third over an unaffiliated candidate who wanted to be on the ballot that could have resulted in the military getting different ballots than other Colorado voters.

Brenda Krause, an unaffiliated voter, said she wasn’t swayed by the debates, and that she shares an anti-incumbent sentiment sweeping the country over anger with government and the economy.

“I’m very disappointed. They’re there for their egos, not for the people,” she said.

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