Scott Tipton just went on the air with an ad where he calls me an “out of touch politician who puts special interests before Colorado families.” I think the people in the 3rd Congressional District might get a kick out of that, considering he is the only Congressman I know who let his largest oil and gas contributors write a bill for him!
On top of this, the ad is full of false and misleading claims, and you deserve to know the truth. Here are a few examples, with plenty of links should you wish to check for yourself.
CLAIM: State of Colorado spending increased $7.8 billion
- The ad refers to increases in the overall state budget, without any context whatsoever.
- The fact-checking organization Politifact checked a similar ad involving Sen. Morgan Carroll. This claim was rated “mostly false” for several reasons, including federal funding in the state budget and the fact that other legislators work on and vote to approve the budget. For example, the most recent state budget passed the Senate 31-2, and a very conservative Republican was quoted praising the outcome. Here’s the story: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/politics/misleading-nrcc-ad-says-morgan-carroll-racked-up-11-billion-in-new-spending-in-state-legislature
- In fact, the Federal Fund component of the budget increased almost $4 billion during the period referenced in the ad against me, and the state legislature has “little control” over federal funding, according to the story linked above. The easiest way to check figures is to click this link and read through “Budgets in Brief”: http://www.tornado.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/jbc/apprepts.htm
- The state’s General Fund increased about $1.9 billion during the same period, but general funds come from general taxation such as sales tax and income tax. Collections of both naturally grew as Colorado’s economy pulled out of the recession – without raising tax rates. The ad failed to mention my work on the economy, including chairing the state’s Joint Select Committee on Job Creation and Economic Growth during the recession, and sponsoring many jobs bills while serving as a Senator.
- The state budget process is a shining beacon of responsibility compared to what we’re seeing out of Congress. The state must balance its budget every year, and the General Assembly always approved it by the end of the legislative session while I served. Read this story for yet another account of Congressional dysfunction when it comes to the federal budget: http://www.denverpost.com/2016/09/27/another-year-of-congress-another-string-of-broken-promises/
CLAIM: “killing 1,000 jobs”
- The ad repeats the false implication that I killed 1,000 jobs, while ignoring key reasons for declines in coal production and the facts behind specific mine closures, both in Colorado and nationwide.
- This includes: The low cost of natural gas making it a more attractive option: http://www.denverpost.com/2015/02/10/colorado-coal-production-slips-to-20-year-low/
- Bankruptcy filings of roughly 50 coal companies in recent years, including companies doing business in Colorado: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/04/13/peabody-energy-coal-chapter-11-bankruptcy/82971246/
- A severe coal mine fire at one of the Colorado mines that caused it to idle operations: http://www.denverpost.com/2013/12/02/elk-creek-mine-in-somerset-will-go-idle/
- The loss of a large contract costing 150 jobs at another mine: http://www.gjsentinel.com/news/articles/more-layoffs-hit-bowie-coal-mine
- Trends in the cost of wind power making it an increasingly viable option. For example, Xcel Energy just reached an agreement on a huge wind power project, estimating that it will save ratepayers $400 million over 25 years: http://www.denverpost.com/2016/09/06/xcel-energy-rush-creek-wind-project/
CLAIM: “stuck us with fees on hospital visits”
- Colorado adopted a Hospital Provider Fee in 2009 (HB 09-1293), which has helped thousands of Coloradans of limited means receive the health care they need. This includes children: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/sites/default/files/2016%20Annual%20Report_1.pdf
- This had bipartisan support. Several Republican state legislators voted for HB 09-1293, but today’s obstructionists in Congress have instead attempted more than 60 times to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act without offering real solutions.
- The Hospital Provider Fee arrangement also brings the state a sizable amount of federal matching funds for health care purposes. Thanks to HPF money and the federal match, hospitals can be better reimbursed for uncompensated health care services: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/hcpf/hospital-provider-fee
- This type of arrangement exists in 49 states, although details vary: https://www.americanactionforum.org/insight/medicaid-provider-fees-explained/
- The Hospital Provider Fee approach helps more people receive health care, while the “repeal or gut the ACA with no alternative solution” approach takes it away. This ad calls me out for choosing a smart, humane path forward.
I have always fought on behalf of the people for economic opportunity, health care for those who can’t afford it, education, and rebuilding the state’s roads, bridges and schools – which also supports jobs. Instead, Scott Tipton approves attack ads like this, hiding from his record of drafting or supporting bills in the interest of his big-money donors, not the people of Colorado. In Congress, I will continue working toward solutions that benefit all of us, not just the fortunate few.