DA Mark Hurlbert, a Republican primary contender for Colorado’s 16th State Senate district seat, has failed to sign the “CUT” pledge, despite being in the race for three months and promising to do so. His opponent, Evergreen businessman Tim Leonard, signed it on December 31, 2009, before Hurlbert even entered the race. The failure on Hurlbert’s part, especially after promising to sign it, signals that he’s wavering on committing himself as a strong fiscal conservative.
The “CUT” pledge, put forth by the Colorado Union of Taxpayers, prevents politicians from getting away with mouthing platitudes about “small government” and “fiscal conservatism” and requires them to agree on some real fiscal conservative specifics. Perhaps more importantly, when a candidate signs the pledge, he can be held accountable should he be elected to office and later breach the agreement.
(Update March 30 – New article here shows more evidence Hurlbert is not a fiscal conservative. He’s increased his budgets, though prosecution court filings are down. His own pay went up in January by 10 percent, to $110,000, and increased from $80,000 in 2008, to $100,000 in 2009. The increases occurred via the efforts of a DA lobbying group, of which Hurlbert was a recent president).
The specifics of the CUT pledge in their entirety are here, taken directly from the CUT website:
Tabor - to honor and uphold the spirit as well as the letter of TABOR.
New Taxes – to oppose any new net tax increase.
Spending Limit- to limit government spending to growth of Colorado population and inflation.
Tax Surplus- to support the refund of surplus taxes to the citizens of Colorado proportional to their contributions.
Prioritize Spending- to support prioritizing the budget by shifting spending from lower valued programs to the higher priorities, and not fund spending with new net taxes.
Education- to support educational alternatives such as vouchers to create competition and improve student results at a lower cost.
Privatize- to support privatization of government departments and functions to make them more efficient and less expensive.
Property Rights- to defend private property rights from “takings” by government or by regulation.
Payroll Deductions- to oppose unauthorized payroll deductions that are used for political purposes.
Petition Rights- to support the citizen’s right to petition with rules as non-restrictive as possible.
Good stuff, and issues that should be no-brainers for real conservative candidates willing to commit on the issues and take the risk that liberals might disagree with them in a general election.
So why hasn’t Hurlbert signed the pledge himself? Who knows? But CUT Executive Director Marty Neilson phoned me on March 9, and told me that she talked to Hurlbert at a Republican campaign event on March 6, gave him a copy of the pledge, and he told her he would sign it. I’ve followed up, though, and he still hasn’t as of April 12, despite making additional claims that he would be signing it.
In more CUT news, Republican candidate for HD 33, Don Beezley, just signed the pledge. Beezley is competing against liberal Dem incumbent Dianne Primavera, a two-termer. Ben Degrow gives a slight edge for Beezley to pick up this seat in a district that went Republican until 2006. Good news. Kathleen Conti, a conservative activist Republican businesswoman from Littleton, just entered the race for Colorado House District 38, and wasted no time in signing the taxpayer’s CUT pledge at the recent Taxpayer Day rally. Ex-Pat Ex-Lawyer posted an article on Kathleen Conti here.