The State of Bill Owens
by Linn and Ari Armstrong
The following article originally appeared in the January 23, 2006, edition of Grand Junction Free Press.
If listening to Governor Owens's final "State of the State" speech made you want to fall asleep or bang your head against the wall, we're here to help. Following is our much shorter (if slightly irreverent) re-write.
Hello Colorado. Even though I have absolutely nothing to do with the Broncos and couldn't beat a 12-year-old girl playing football, I'm going to hold up a jersey for a photo op and try to get you to transfer all your warm feelings about football onto me.
Remember all the bad things that happened while I was governor? School shooting, recession, drought, forest fires, "technology bust?" Totally not my fault, just so we're clear.
I don't want to remind you that I said "all of Colorado is burning." That really ticked off the tourism industry, but don't worry, because I'm going to offer a bunch of corporate welfare to tourism a bit later, even though the state's Constitution explicitly forbids state grants to "any corporation or company."
I also don't want to remind you that I supported all kinds of gun restrictions after the school shooting. No, none of those restrictions would have prevented the tragedy, and none of them do anything to reduce crime. (My critics argue that the measures merely take guns away from good citizens and thus empower criminals.) But at the time it seemed like a smart political move, and I just didn't predict how many Coloradans would strongly support the fundamental human right of self-defense. (Besides, I know that my base has a short memory.)
I did support ideas for giving parents a bit more choice within the public school system and for giving more tests to students. And now the state gives more money directly to college students.
When I thought increases in state spending were guaranteed, I played to the low-tax base. Of course, when I saw that spending might increase at a slower rate than anticipated, I abandoned all that and joined Denver Democrats to eliminate TABOR refunds for five years and permanently ratchet up state spending.
I helped forcibly transfer your wealth to pay for other people's health care. I helped increase open space. I talked about water.
Yay, Coloradans who helped those hurt by Hurricane Katrina! Sad, the Sergeant-at-Arms died. Yay, Colorado National Guard! Yay, growing economy!
I'm still using the word "cuts" to describe slightly reduced increases in spending. But now we won't have to make those "cuts" because Denver-area voters agreed to eliminate TABOR refunds for five years! So Colorado government can spend more of your money.
I realize the Democrats wanted to spend all Ref. C money on health care and education, and originally I was fine with that because I thought Ref. D would fund roads. But Ref. D failed, so now I say the Democrats better put some of the Ref. C money toward roads, or else.
During this legislative session, I want to force you to spend more money on other people's education, health care, and utilities.
Corporate welfare. Why should you keep the money you earn, when I can give it to politically privileged businesses? Forget free markets -- this is politics.
I'm working with Attorney General John Suthers and various legislators to tighten laws regarding sexually violent predators. I also want better, more secure computer systems.
The state's pension plan is a mess, with billions of dollars of unfunded liabilities. And now with the press hounding us, by God, it's time to do something about it. I'm even willing to consider reducing benefits for current employees, though moving completely to a "defined contribution" plan, which makes the most sense, is out for political reasons.
I think Tom Tancredo is half crazy, but I want to appease his supporters, so I'm going to talk tough about securing the border with Mexico. At the same time, I understand that our economy benefits enormously by Mexican labor, and I also want to appease the free-market wing of the party, so I support a guest-worker program.
Blah blah blah health care blah blah blah education.
Isn't it weird how the Colorado work force is highly educated, but Colorado high school students don't all go to college? Therefore, as mentioned earlier, I want to force you to pay more for other people's education.
We do need to be cool to military families with children who want to go to college here.
You Know Who (okay, Ward Churchill) is an embarrassment to Colorado and its flagship university. I'd bounce out that incompetent clown personally, except that he would sue, sue, sue. So let's at least make sure that, in the future, unqualified posers don't get tenure.
I want to put out forest fires and eliminate the metro car-inspection program.
P.S: Democrats, don't screw with me.
P.P.S: I love the limelight and the perks, but just wait till you see how much money I make next year!