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Saturday
Jul022011

BIG Government's appetite for Fossil Fuels!

VetTheGov just returned from a trip to Australia and was dumbfounded by the hypocrisy of its government regarding pollution and energy consumption. Australia is definitely the poster child for how a government controls pollution from its businesses, citizens, and visitors, right? Think again! Be on the lookout as the United States is watching Australia closely so they can bring forth their Cap & Tax scheme soon!

VetTheGov read an interesting article while in Australia regarding the governments Do as I Say not as I Do energy policy and consumption. When your government becomes the leading employer, largest asset owner, and dictator of all policy, they can't help but be the leading energy user. What's interesting to note is that the environmental justice groups are beginning to focus their attention on government. Surely a move the government was hoping to deflect with all the renewable energy programs implemented on the backs of the taxpayers. Australia lead the way with wind energy but look at all the hassles they now face such as noise pollution! Note: When walking around all the larger cities in Australia it was difficult to avoid all the second hand smoke. It appears Australians love tobacco and the government is enjoying the tax benefit! Also take note of the heavy handed fist used by the government to curb social behavior! If this is the case for tobacco then why aren't they using the same tactic to combat AIDS???

Industry specific areas of Australia seem to have different standards placed upon them. For instance, VetTheGov passed a sugar mill complex and couldn't help but notice two large smoke stacks spewing dirty pollution from them. See picture below! This is a $1.75 Billion dollar industry for Australia and no doubt the government is looking for new revenue streams from this industry. No Worries is a favorite saying in Australia and the government uses this to their benefit as you will see by the coming Carbon Tax soon to pass in the next couple of weeks.

Bringing this full circle back to the States and locally in Colorado, our government is consuming so much energy that the fight against the energy producers will intensify. In case you need more evidence of the energy used by government here is a great breakdown of the Department of Defense daily dose! Quick breakdown for those not reading the link: 2009 consumption of delivered 932 Trillion Btu's cost $13.3 Billion; emitted 73 Million tons of CO2; Use 360,000 barrels of oil daily.

For an idea of local energy government expenses, Mesa County spent $236,544.87 in energy and fuel related expenses in April 2011 alone. If you multiply over an annual basis this equals over $2.8 Million in energy cost! This total does not include all other related expenses such as air travel and travel reimbursements. VetTheGov must point out cost for the social justice program GVT which had cost of fuel and service fees from local tax dollars in April alone of $148,714.08. The City of Grand Junction uses somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.5 Million annually! If we add in all the school district and State government energy expenditures you can you see how quickly the need for Fossil Fuels arise for our government. 

So the question of the moment once again is the government concerned with your usage of energy more than they are concerned with their own usage? VetTheGov believes government wants you to curb your very small appetite for energy because they need more than you! Remember the next time you hear a story on energy, it should directly relate back to our government's use rather than yours! 

Wednesday
Jun152011

U.N. AGENDA 21? Signed on by none other than Governor Hickenlooper!

Hopefully you have watched the above video and now have a better understanding of the environmental justice agenda! Please do your own homework and study and view the associated links to follow.

Here is Governor Hickenlooper's pledge and signature to the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement!

U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement!

Austin, Texas Ordinance 20081106-047! Notice the fines and potential criminal violation language towards the end of the Ordinance.

United Nations Agenda 21!

ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability! Can you say George Soros? Here are the Partners involved with ICLEI!

When you see stories all over the paper and in opinion writings you now will understand what you are up against! Yes the newspapers are right in bed with the Extreme Environmentalist Treehuggers! Now you have no excuse that you didn't know the radicalism of environmental scare tactics and behind the scenes legislation being ramrodded down your throats!

The time is now for more John Bush's to step up and fight back against the Agenda! Will you join the fight?

Sunday
Jun122011

2011 City of Grand Junction's Balanced Budget...Really?

"Compel us to run a balanced budget?" This quote can be found on the City of Grand Junction's budget overview here. VetTheGov digs a little deeper for a more realistic idea of where your tax dollars are being spent.

The City of Grand Junction has voted to spend $147.2 Million during the 2011 fiscal year compared to Mesa County's 2011 budget of $140.9 Million. Of the $147.2 Million, 38% or $55.6 Million is cost of employees Pay & Benefits which is currently at 631 Full Time Employees (FTE) and been kept the same as 2010. This is an average of $88,500.00 per FTE but not a true across the board breakdown. 48% of the 631 FTE's or 302 FTE's are law enforcement positions, 217 FTE's are general fund positions, and 110 FTE's are associated with enterprise funds.

Click here to see a powerpoint overview of the 2011 budget. While it certainly includes cuts in positions, it also shows an increase in fees which in reality is code word for an additional tax whether in the form of a parking ticket, speeding ticket, sewer tap, or use of a public facility. VetTheGov noticed that overall in the 2011 budget shows a total loss of ($23.4 Million) for the year, yet the city still maintains its $20 million just in case fund.

Highlights of the budget show total revenue projected at $124.6 Million and total expenses at $147.2 Million. Does this sound balanced? Well Yes, if you are the city government and keep $20 Million in reserves then they can fudge everywhere else.

Here is a quick list of losing programs in this years budget minus the politically correct handling of the homeless population by the Police as many would consider the police force a winner in regards to their new and improved relationship! Along with the new $12.3 Million dollar trophy building and furnished tents this should help improve tensions between the homeless and local law enforcement!

Vacation & Convention Bureau loses ($62,500) and has $733,512 in employee cost and another $1,025,042 in operating cost. This program generates in revenue from Hotel taxes, so the question is why is this losing? It's no wonder the city pays close attention to hotel receipts! Why are the taxpayers allowing this to continue especially when the city is paying over $125,000.00 annually for the VCB website? Looks like there are great travel benefits for some of the employees!

Solid Waste removal loses ($165,581) and carries $1,028,742 in employee and benefit cost and $2,224,572 in operation cost. Worthy to note expenses related to dump and recycling fees to the landfill of $1,088,137 and $99,194 in fuel cost.

Two Rivers Convention Center breaks even this year but VetTheGov must note some cost associated with the convention center. $1.2 Million for full and part-time employees and benefits, $18,045 telephone bill, and $217,665 in gas, electric, and utility cost. Side note: Remember the government tells you to conserve energy, but are they? Seems hypocritical to VetTheGov when they are the number one consumer for utilities but the government blames you for your lifestyle utility choices! 

The swimming pool fund makes $1.00 this year. But interesting to note from the powerpoint presentation page 14 slide labeled Model #2 that the Orchard Mesa pool will close for the summer if revenues further decline. Also budget shows $102,000 in energy and utility cost. Question: How can they close something the tax payers are already funding? On top of that how can they add fees to programs already being funded by the general fund tax receipts?

Parking Authority Fund (Parking tickets and meter revenue) would normally make money for the city, however they have some debt repayment that makes them lose ($102,707) this year.  

Ridges Irrigation Fund budgeted to lose ($44,561) which carries employee cost of $96,470 and electric cost of $100,000.

The controversial ambulance takeover is yet another loser for the city of ($34,699)! This fund carries just under $1.8 Million in employee and benefit cost and looks like the city is burying the fuel cost in another fund. 

The Joint Sewer System Fund is the biggest loser this year at ($3,419,432). Carries just over $2.8 Million in salaries and benefits, $570,000 in electric and gas cost, and $272,000 in landfill cost.

VetTheGov must mention the city's contribution from the General fund to the losing social justice program Grand Valley Transit of $419,885.

VetTheGov found in comparing budgets from 2010 to 2011 the city increased the budget on paper from $152.9 Million to $167.3 Million which is a 10% increase during difficult times! Now if you use actual spent dollars of $121.8 Million from 2010 and compare to this years budget of $147.2 Million you get an actual increase of 17%

VetTheGov hopes this information is helpful in following your tax dollars and how they are spent. Hopefully you are receiving great services from your local government and feel you are getting your monies worth! Ask yourself why do the fees keep getting increased on top of paying taxes? Ask what happens if they run out of money? Will they switch off your waste pickup? Will they portion water? What VetTheGov is asking is will the city hold you hostage for services? The city already uses the media to increase fees by threatening cuts to these major services. Stay tuned for a more in-depth look into our BIG out of control government spending habits!

Thursday
Jun022011

Retired and giving politically to save their Social Security & Medicare benefits that resemble Ponzi Schemes!

When discussing federal elections and state elections did you know that Retired individuals give more money to political candidates than any other industry? In the 2008 election cycle Retirees contributed almost $279 Million to federal level candidates and PAC's. This money has slightly favored republicans but not by much. We keep hearing the word REFORM when we discuss Social Security, Medicare, and Pensions but with so much money being dumped into the federal election cycle can we expect changes anytime soon? Will the politicians that accept and go after these donations and answer the questions from retirees about saving their entitlements actually renege on their promises to not touch the locked box?

VetTheGov looked into a recent 2010 election cycle for Colorado District 3 House race between incumbent John Salazar and challenger Scott Tipton. The winner Scott Tipton received $154,183.00 from retired individuals while John Salazar received $45,119.00. However over Salazar's entire CD-3 career received $215,692.00 from retirees. Here is where issues get sticky for politicians and headline media reporting. Look at this article during the Salazar/Tipton race and watch how each side plays the game. Both sides know how emotional a debate entitlements are especially when Seniors are involved and knowing they contribute heavily to protect unsustainable government promises from years ago. Campaigns are filled with the dreaded questions about privatizing Social Security all the way to what are you going to do to protect a government promise.

After 75 years here is President Obama's proclamation to those waiting for or soon to receive their Social Security checks. See the President's agenda in regards to Social Security & Medicare. It's an absolute shame to see how our government has created so much dependency upon itself that no one has even realized what happened other than the needed correction bailouts. This trend continues forward with the youth in America under the mask of At-Risk school breakfast and lunch programs that here in Mesa County accounts for almost half of current students enrolled not to mention all the other giveaways and redistribution models in place locally.

What's at stake? Well for the Retired individuals it's about getting back what they paid in and were promised, and for the politicians its about promising to keep an unsustainable program in place for votes, money, and political party power. What about the current workforce and future generations? Well let's just say it doesn't look pleasant! Our kids, grandkids, and great grandkids are going to pay into a scheme that will never pay anything back. Future generations have over $14 Trillion of government debt that is insurmountable to overcome with another $2 Trillion or more once congress agrees to raise the debt ceiling. Retirees have been promised and the government knows if they break their promises there will be hell to pay so they just continue forward and hope something changes like a major plague or end times. Want to have an interesting discussion? Bring up privatizing Social Security with Seniors or entitlements altogether! Watch the venom spew if you mention the word REFORM and the fact that they might never see the money they paid in. Ponzi scheme 101!

Wake up call! Nothing the government promises now or in the future will change the current course. Please don't worry because our government always has your best interest at heart and it's ready to meet your every need. Keep enjoying all the smoke and mirrors from both parties as they lead us down the highway to hell, higher taxes, and living your life day to day under government control because no one has the guts to do what is necessary and talk is cheap! VetTheGov hopes you understand the consequences of out of control spending and the results by such behavior. The video below is a much watch! Thanks for tuning in!

Saturday
May282011

Where does Union money come from and where does it go?

Unions and political parties will often focus on social issues related to so called left or right extremes during election campaigns. Why? Because it takes voters away from the real issues at hand and the BIG government promises and entitlements established years ago. Then we hear the term lock boxes and reform Medicare and we expect these issues to get resolved, right? Maybe? Wrong? Why do you think we have career politicians in place? To make sure no new blood can arrive and make real change!

So who is the force behind status quo in Washington DC? Unions? Big corporations? Retirees? If you guessed all of the above you are correct! VetTheGov has focused on the Big business Big government connection and now will place the cherry on top called Unions.

Simply follow how Union dues influence political campaigns and it sums up why they get so heavily involved. If you look at the top campaign contributions by Union's over $96 Million and 94% going to Democrat candidates. If you are working for a unionized company and pay your dues what do you get in return? Here are 5 top reasons to join a Union from SEIU's website. Are you really receiving these benfits or are they fiction?

So the war becomes the Unions versus Big Business versus the government and what becomes so intriguing is all their money comes from the same place, you the taxpayer. In a previous story by VetTheGov it dug deeper into where your tax dollars fund both the public and private sectors, and yes now you must know they fund Unions. Here is the viscous circle once again: You pay taxes that support government, the government pays public employees, the public employees give to retirement accounts, the retirement accounts invest in big corporations, the public employees give to unions, the big corporations employees give to unions, and lot's of money (dues) head right back to politicians, legislation, and State ballot measures. The real challenge is how each sector tries to out manoeuvre the other when the unsustainable models they introduce and fund run out of money. Creates many headline news stories for sure!

Let's take a recent Sentinel story here in Grand Junction regarding School District 51 budget cuts. VetTheGov was unable to find any responses to the local cuts in District 51 from the Colorado Education Association Union. Where is the protection promised to the little guy and to our educators from CEA? Here is CEA's 2009 990 showing over $10 Million in received dues and how they were spent. $6.6 Million on payroll, $1.5 million on Uniserv, and almost $1 Million on travel. CEA shows no lobbying expenditures and $87,000.00 in their Educators for Public Education Fund. Note the fund received $20,000.00 in May 2010 but no contributions towards candidates that have demonstrated support for Colorado's children. So educators, did you know your dues weren't helping State elections? It states right on the benefits to belonging that you receive full time lobbyist and grassroots support for politicians that support the causes of public education. Might be time to start asking what you actually get for your Union dues! Tony Salazar holds the title of Executive Director and Lobbyist for the organization but shows only $500.00 monthly in compensation for his lobbyist duties which appear to be monitoring versus actual influence and only part-time. However his main function of spending over $10 Million in annual dues is well compensated!

Rest assured that until Union and Big corporation monies are removed from the political convincing media buys, true reform and change will just be another campaign promise by those looking for personal gain and the Unions are at the forefront! Stay tuned as VetTheGov begins looking into Retirees and the need to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Pensions and the money Retirees give to politicians to protect their Entitlements!

Wednesday
May112011

How to buy and influence Colorado GOP legislators for Obamacare State Health Exchanges!  

VetTheGov in a previous story explained how Colorado Medical Society influences legislation. What you may not know is that the previous story ended with passage of SB11-200 with a majority GOP House. How does legislation that allows government interference in health care pass under the ever so Limited Government GOP commitment? As you have heard the TEA party flavor has already worn itself out with certain factions of the GOP that wanted the votes but not the accountability.

Why focus on the GOP? Easy answer! The Democratic Party never offers a limited government platform so any legislation that grows government is an automatic YES vote for them. VetTheGov must note that one Democrat actually voted NO on SB11-200 John Soper from HD 34 Thornton even though he received $2,300.00 from CMS. Wonder if he missed the YES vote button?

VetTheGov must note all 15 GOP Senators voted NO!

VetTheGov discovered the vote tallies not under the actual bill on Colorado's General Assembly website, but under another bill HB11-1014. Here is the information VetTheGov has been waiting for to determine which GOP house members voted for SB11-200. 

Here are the GOP House members that voted for SB11-200 and the amount of money they received from CMS:

Kathleen Conti-None; Don Coram-$400.00; Cheri Gerou-$1,400.00; James Kerr-None; Larry Liston-$1,200.00; Tom Massey-$1,200.00; Frank McNulty-$500.00; Carole Murray-$2,200.00; Kevin Priola-$915.00; Robert Ramirez-None; Amy Stephens-$1,300.00; Ken Summers-$800.00; Spencer Swalm-$1,600.00. 

CMS has donated $11,515.00 to the above GOP candidates and all but three have accepted these donations from an organization that is pushing the Affordable Care Act here in Colorado. VetTheGov searched the Secretary of State's website and found the three non-CMS recipients had other health care related donations to their campaign committees. 

VetTheGov thinks the $30K salary is much needed these days so they vote for more votes!

Are they representing YOU or special interest? Are they representing YOU or BIG Government? Hard to tell these days but I bet somewhere in their campaign speeches they were cozy with the TEA party crowd. Since nothing was accomplished for job creation, the last fight for the GOP became maps in which the courts will now decide. We the People will wish we had Cleared the Bench! The People definitely need to continue to clear the GOP legislators to ones that actually represent Limited Government. Could prove difficult with Ryan Call and his 51% republican candidates we will soon begin to see. 

Speaking of maps, VetTheGov noticed percentage breakdowns of how they try to equalize and protect districts and the main percentage that stood out was the Independents. If there was traction within a third party the time may be upon Independents to make a stance within one of these groups. In almost every map, percentages of Independents were averaging between 30-40% in every district. 

VetTheGov wonders why the rush for SB11-200? It wouldn't need to be in place until 2014. Where are the GOP strategist that could of allowed the democrats to hang themselves out there on this legislation? Why not let Gov. Hickenlooper sign an executive order for health exchanges? Why not wait to try and gain more GOP Senate seats? Too many questions and of course more smoke and mirrors out of the GOP. The famous GOP line is get involved and make changes but when you try you are given the get back in line and stop dividing the GOP speech!

The ultimate concern regarding government run health care is that there will no doubt be increased cost because when have you ever seen a government run anything that actually makes money or saves money? If you follow the money in health care, BIG Government has become too big to fail!

Sunday
May012011

Colorado House Bill 11-1223 and the push back against the Earth Justice Agenda!

What Agenda? Oh yes there is a huge push to indoctrinate our society with the Global Warming save Mother Earth campaign. It was subtle until we heard Al Gore screaming we will die in 10 years if we didn't do something. Then Governor Ritter gets elected and Colorado gets Green, Progressive, and highly regulated! Now Ted Turner has spoken up and is carrying the load for Al Gore.

One of the theories when considering regulations are green house gases like Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). CO2 and VOC's actually come from Mother Earth. VetTheGov is not here to debate science but just wants to bring the fact that Mother Earth is the largest producer of pollution on the entire planet. How? Volcano's, Forest Fires, and Wind Storms all place enormous amounts of CO2, VOC's, Mercury, Benzene, and Particulate into the atmosphere but you won't hear that in the mainstream media. All you need are a bunch of tornados, large hurricanes, flooding, Tsunamis, or earthquakes and the media along with the Mother Earth Justice folks take over and they will certainly link it all back to the evil United States that allows all this pollution. VetTheGov loves this link that dispels Global Warming as a hoax. One more of interest called I Love CO2!

In Grand Junction we had a very thriving Oil & Gas economy until Gov. Ritter was elected and completely changed the Oil & Gas Conservation Committee (COGCC) by adding TreeHuggers to the committee with absolutely no idea of how to drill any kind of well. Guess what happened next? Colorado went from number one in the world for drilling natural gas to last. Grand Junction also sustained huge unemployment numbers and actually led the nation at certain points. Now Colorado is listed as an unfriendly state for Oil & Gas investment going from first in the world to 81st practically overnight. 

"Sudden changes in royalties or environmental regulations have resulted in Colorado and Alaska losing favor within the petroleum industry, although regulators in both states have since taken steps to improve the situation. Colorado is improving its reputation among industry executives, but the state still has a long way to go. In 2007, it was ranked No. 1 in the world, but environmental regulations introduced since then continue to discourage investors," from Fraser Institute Survey.

During committee hearings, Earth Justice, Sierra Club, and many other environmental groups converged into the small room to discourage the republican committee members on Representative Ray Scott's HB11-1223 since most democrats typically vote and want more regulation. So how do you push your agenda? Scare tactics and legal challenges and they have perfected these without much resistance. These groups must demonize for-profit companies and vilify their drilling and operation procedures. Then the horrible word Global Warming gets mentioned and everybody believes a headline so here we are with NO jobs and NO money.

The VOC challenge weakened since the temperatures cooled and now the enviro's went after hydraulic fracturing fluids and even have a brand new website to educate and scare the masses. Just look here at all the BAD chemicals used in fracing? Regarding the COGCC, VetTheGov must note in their new regulation package, one of the main themes was regulating VOC's which added 30-40% additional drilling cost to Oil & Gas companies. The media and government will have you believe it was related to low natural gas prices.

HB11-1223 legislates the COGCC back to the original pre-Ritter days and removes the Treehuggers and adds professional educated and informed individuals that know the industry, procedures, and current technical information of drilling operations. Here is a list of the current COGCC members and their Bio's. VetTheGov will give a brief overview if they believe in Global Warming or not.

Richard D. Alward ecologist believes and teaches Global Warming. Shouldn't he have placed this on his conflict of interest paperwork?

Mark Cutright PE has several Oil & Gas ties as disclosed here along with a 27+ year career in the industry. No information found regarding stance on Global Warming.

Tom Compton Rancher and Biologist. Served on 116 panel Colorado Climate Project regarding climate change aka Global Warming. See his disclosure here. No mention in disclosure of him being involved with the Climate Project!

Michael Dowling is current chair of Colorado Land Trust. Here is Michael's disclosure listed is his role with Environmental Defense Fund that promotes Global Warming Agenda and his work with the Colorado Climate Project.

Joshua Epel recently appointed by Gov. Hickenlooper to Colorado Public Utility Commission most noted work on Global Warming was in New Mexico on their Climate Change advisory board.

Mike King currently Executive Director of Colorado Department of Natural Resources. No disclosure found on global warming stance but position and experience leans green.

Dr. Chris Urbina currently serving as Colorado's Director of Public Health & Environment. Here is an interesting article in a recent exchange of Dr. Urbina's stance on Global Warming.

DeAnn Craig PE based on credentials has the most Oil & Gas experience on the board. Here is her perspective on the Kyoto Protocol and Global Warming scare tactics.

You can now clearly see the agenda unfold before your very eyes and why Representative Ray Scott's bill is needed in order to bring out of control government under reign by removing Treehuggers and government rubber stamp votes and adding back in experienced industry professionals. Colorado needs Common Sense back into law making and regulatory oversight which ultimately will lead Colorado back into the top spot for Oil & Gas investment and a much needed boost in job creation.

Thursday
Apr282011

Colorado SB11-200, the 10th Amendment, and the Fed Sugar Daddy!

VetTheGov has been following Colorado Senate Bill 11-200 which will finalize the Exchange portion of the Affordable Care Act. There are many paying close attention to this particular bill and they are emailing Senators and Representatives to either support the bill or asking for a "NO" vote. Unfortunately VetTheGov is certain the Bill if not passed in the House will undoubtedly get enacted with an executive order from Governor Hickenlooper. This is a WIN for Progressives and the Social & Health Justice movement and they know it!

The main reason is MONEY from the Federal Government! Healthcare.gov is reporting that Colorado has received $76.9 Million Federal dollars for the implementation of the Act. They surely are leaving out the additional $90 Million Grant that Rocky Mountain Health Plans received for setting up a bridge for High Risk Pool clients called Gettinguscovered.org. So with the amount of Federal Grant money getting thrown into Colorado, how can they ever escape from the Federal Sugar Daddy? The 10th amendment right? Surely this could be a plan if the Colorado GOP actually had an idea what the 10th amendment means in regards to Limited Government posted on their website. Sure! Try and find this concept on the Colorado GOP website since VetTheGov had a difficult time locating anything that represents limited or small government on it. The GOP slogan may need to be changed to limited Freedom as it more reflects the party these days. Since Colorado has received the Grant for exchanges, they are now beholden to the Feds current and FUTURE requirements for this exchange and the endless Grant MONEY that follows. Reading is believing so read here!

So who pays? This is no doubt another redistribution scheme for votes, power, and government control all in the name of FAIRNESS! Look at all the program grants line by line that tells you how to live, how to eat, what to eat, how to exercise, and without a doubt there will be no other treatments available for you if you fail to follow the government health prescription! So if you are overweight, old, cancerous, diseased, and so on, the government now has the power to use the story line of ,Sorry, there is nothing else we can do for you except place you in Hospice and make your death comfortable as possible simply because it will cost too much to keep you alive. Cookie Cutter healthcare, only the strong shall survive!

Instead of Limited government conservative republican Representatives standing firm against the Federal Sugar Daddy, they suddenly find themselves in the middle of two opposing bills, for example, House Majority Leader Amy Stephens. Amy Stephens endorsed Bills on both sides of the issue and has played the media smokescreen game since most voters have no clue what's going on. Most voters just consider this normal of politicians who change from their political campaigning words into Chameleons. VetTheGov will call this compassionate moderate syndrome (CMS) since RINO is losing it's flavor among the GOP yet still very applicable here. POSER and Flip Flopper could also work! Stay tuned for follow up story as we will soon see who will stick their necks out from the republican side and back Amy's Exchange Bill! 

Amy Stephens is co-sponsor of Senate Bill 11-200 and also of House Bill 11-1273. SB11-200 sets the stage and final pillar for Obama's Affordable Care Act while HB11-1273 is a compact that would need Federal Government approval regardless if it even gets approved here in Colorado which it won't. Remember Colorado did accept the One Million Dollars from the Feds to implement the program so there's no turning back right? Surely SB11-200 is going to pass as Amy stated it has the votes to pass. So why would you support two opposing Bills? It's called short term voter memory and 24-hour news cycles that wipe away bad press. It also means you can appease your constituents by offering bills for votes and money knowing full well which one will pass and which one won't and have an escape plan for either one. The Senate had a free pass on this one since they are in the minority so it made a NO vote easy and thus places pressure back on the House.

No worries as the GOP machine will finally rise to the occasion after the Bill passes to protect Amy since they are too busy to react now due to working on Lincoln Day dinners. The Colorado GOP is desperate for money so they must stay focused for now. Damage control has taken a back seat although Wadhams took his shots at the crazed right wingers and tea party folks before he left so it should be an easy fix for Amy. Let's see if Ryan Call can get from behind the redistricting maps to exonerate the YES GOP votes on SB11-200. The Colorado GOP damage control machine also encourages defeat of your First Amendment rights since they can't handle accountability especially from the annoying tea party crowd!

Please visit Governor Hick's/RitterCare/AmyCare/ObamaCare implementation plan and see for yourself the actual dollars and timeline for every Grant dollar received. Please visit the Exchange site and learn more about Joan Henneberry who has been charged with implementing COHIEX. If you download Joan's powerpoint presentation you will notice on page 10 that one of its core functional areas is enabling SB11-200! Stay up to speed on her milestones reached for the Exchange and all related documents. 

Don't forget to track votes from Representatives that have received campaign monies from Colorado Medical Society! Scroll to the bottom of the provided link and you will see some familiar names. This Bill will get pushed to the final week and maybe even a late Friday night vote so the news comes out on a Saturday when nobody will be listening.

Remember when you follow the money within the government it only leads to less freedom for you and more revenue to the State from the Federal Sugar Daddy! The days of representative government have come to a close because it is full of sell outs for cash! Don't forget about the 10th Amendment as you will hear it in the next campaign speech just around the corner! 

Saturday
Apr232011

Why SB11-200 Health exchange Bill will unfortunately Pass soon!

In case you didn't know Colorado already has a Health Exchange in place at least for Information called Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO) as stated in the Colorado Health Department Description below. Please visit their website to learn more about the program already in place. HERE are the current financials of the organization. Take note of their description about what they provide! CORHIO is one of the first pillars necessary to implement Obama Care.

Colorado Medicaid is working with the Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO), a public-private partnership, to implement this program and promote health information exchange across the state.  The ACC Program will work with CORHIO’s regional extension centers to encourage providers in each region to participate in the HITECH program and improve their health information technology. 

Governor Hickenlooper's 2011-2012 budget description (View Department Description section#2) explains the implementation of SB11-200 and the exchange system well before it was even introduced by Democratic Senator Boyd and Republican House Leader Amy Stephens. The State of Colorado has received $1,000,000.00 in grant money from the federal government that set aside FIVE BILLION for states to implement the exchange system for Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Section 1311 of PPACA provides funding assistance to the States for the planning and establishment of American Health Benefit Exchanges (“Exchanges”). PPACA provides that each State may elect to establish an Exchange that would: 1) facilitate the purchase of qualified health plans; 2) provide for the establishment of a Small Business Health Options Program (“SHOP Exchange”) designed to assist qualified employers in facilitating the enrollment of their employees in Qualified Health Plans offered in the SHOP exchange; and 3) meet other requirements specified in the Act.  On October 1, 2010, the Department was awarded a planning and establishment grant totaling $1,000,000.00 for initial planning activities related to the potential implementation of the Exchanges. Colorado has received the grant money already and now all that is left is the structure of SB11-200.

VetTheGov followed the money from the advocates of this program spear headed by Mike Pramenko who is currently holding the title of President of Colorado Medical Society (CMS). Have you wondered how a 2000 page bill was written so quickly and why Obama flew to little old Grand Junction when he was pitching this program? Pramenko is spear heading the whole design behind Obama Care and if he had it his way the program would  be a single payer system. CMS is currently involved in creating Accountable Care Organizations (ACO). See details here and of course this is preparation for the many baby boomers about to over burden the Medicaid system.

"Doctors, hospitals and others in the health care industry have raised concerns that ACOs could run afoul of antitrust and anti-fraud laws, which try to limit market power that drives up prices and stifles competition. One concern is that ACOs, particularly those in rural markets, could grow so large that they would employ the majority of providers in a region." Pramenko is also part of the CO-OP Rocky Mountain  Health Plans. Hmmm....Is RMHP starting an ACO??? VetTheGov believes RMHP and Primary Care Physicians have lots to gain financially from the implementation of SB11-200, Obama Care, and ACO's. Here is a new coverage for pre-exisiting conditions that RMHP set up in 2010 and received $90 Million in Federal funding. See recent powerpoint from Pramenko regarding ACO's. Here is another presentation so you don't think we are conspiracy theorist. Notice the new ACO definition! This same Medical Homes language is found in the Colorado budget description mentioned above. 

“It is a tremendous honor to be able to serve the residents of the State of Colorado through this innovative partnership, which brings the resources of the private sector together with the protections and resources of the public sector, to solve a problem for thousands of uninsured Coloradans, ” said Steve ErkenBrack, president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Health Plans. Click here for entire press release! 

Now CMS is also involved in supporting candidates and elected officials in order to push their agenda forward. So who has received money from CMS? Surprise surprise! Amy Stephens and Betty Boyd along with a host from both parties have received campaign contributions from CMS. Now all you have to do is sit back and watch the final details come together. CMS has very specific questions for candidates to answer in order to get funding and endorsements. There are no other choices left since Colorado will not be able to sustain all the promised programs from the feds and the state.

The health care money machine goes all the way to Washington DC and both parties have again sold out. You will see all your favorites here http://www.opensecrets.org/capital_eye/health.php Over $600 Million in 2010 alone. Are they serving your needs or BIG Healthcare's needs?

Do you think SB11-200 is truly for small business as it is being touted? Think again! In Pramenko's powerpoint it mentions Health TeamWorks, United HealthGroup, and CMS as collaborators in the exchange endeavor. If you go to Health TeamWorks blog you will notice most Obama Care strategies have already been implemented or currently in pilot stage. So where does the TeamWorks get their funding and who are the members? Look here but VetTheGov will point out a couple such as Rocky Mountain Health Plans, Colorado Medical Society, HealthONE, and United HealthCare part of United HealthGroup. Health TeamWorks receives donations and grants from The Colorado Health Foundation which holds over One BILLION in assets. Read the Health Foundations measurable results page to learn they are behind increasing more Medicaid and CHP+ adults and children into the system. Sound familiar? This Bill is all about taking care of Big Healthcare hospitals and Primary care groups. It is doing nothing for small business or the independent free market doctors.

So who is behind the Health Foundation? A HUGE for-profit company which owns the non-profit HealthONE here in Colorado called Hospital Corporation of America. Look here at the dollars invested in Colorado. Here are their campaign donations via Federal Election Commission http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00067231/ Look at what the Stock Market folks are saying about the future of Health Care and HCA http://www.hedgefundlive.com/blog/a-little-more-on-hca-thanks-duke-desk

The stars are aligning for the Health Care industry in Colorado and unfortunately when we discuss the MONEY trail both the Colorado Government and the BIG Health corporations will get what they want regardless of what you think or believe because profit and taxes drive both of these engines and they know what's best for us! Please try and convince your State Senators and Representatives to vote otherwise but the Train is already full steam ahead. VetTheGov doesn't see anyone able to get in its way. The future will see less options, bigger ACO's/HMO's, and free market competition all but lost.

Monday
Apr182011

Colorado PERA, TARP Money, and the Politicians!!!

Have you have ever wondered why there never seems to be a difference in Washington DC politicians? It's because our tax money and their decisions are convoluted with Federal & State Pensions and Big Corporations, especially Large Investment Banks.

VetTheGov as stated in our last story on the School budgets has followed the Colorado Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) pension fund all the way to the top TARP recipients. PERA's portfolio has a large portion of it's assets with many of the listed TARP companies. The connection to Wall Street and then on to the Politicians will have many of you scratching your heads.  In following the money trail of many State pension funds that are accessible online or via the Security & Exchange Commission website search engine, VetTheGov discovered a common theme. We are talking TRILLIONS of invested Tax dollars being poured into large corporations ranging from Oil & Gas companies, to large investment banks, the Tech sector, and everything in between.  

Why does VetTheGov use the word tax dollars for personal pensions by the public sector? Well because the Public Sector is mostly funded from your taxes right? What if you are a Public Sector Employee that gets matching retirement funding from the Local, State, or Federal government agencies you work for? In reality it is a two for one because the public sector salary is tax funded in which the employee contribution is tax money and then the matching contribution is again tax money. These pension funds are produced 100% by your tax dollars and currently fund many publicly traded companies such as Exxon Mobil, Microsoft, JP Morgan, Pfizer, Chevron, and many more including the top TARP recipients.

Here are the Top TARP recipients: AIG-$70 Billion; Citigroup-$50 Billion; General Motors-$50 Billion; Bank of America-$50 billion; JP Morgan-$25 billion; Wells Fargo-$25 Billion, Ally Financial-$17 Billion; Chrysler-$14 Billion; Morgan Stanley-$10 Billion; Goldman Sachs-$10 Billion; PNC Financial-$7.6 Billion; US Bancorp-$6.6 Billion; GMAC LLC-$5 Billion; Suntrust Bank-$4.85 Billion; Capital One-$3.55 Billion; Regions Financial-$3.5 Billion; Fifth 3rd Bank-$3.4 Billion; American Express-$3.4 Billion; BB&T-$3.13 Billion; NY Mellon-$3 Billion; and Keycorp-$2.5 Billion.  Keep reading, as the lines are dotted below!

So where do you think the concept originated of investing Public Sector money into publicly traded corporations? Under the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidency who hired the organization Hewitt Associates which has recently been acquired by AON, which in Gaelic means, "Oneness." Hewitt Associates was the only firm involved in the task force that designed and implemented the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). ERISA created a new government agency/corporation called Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).  PBGC is a small government agency/corporation that employs over 900 federal employees with $460 Million in expenses. This federal government corporation insures individuals keep their pensions when corporations go bankrupt. The current financials show a NET financial position of negative -$23 Billion.  

Why such a close look into pensions you ask? VetTheGov believes many are very vulnerable Nationwide and globally and will eventually cause either the greatest depression of all time or create the highest taxes of all time or both. Using the accounting rules currently allowed there are many questions and information in these pension funds left unanswered. If you combine Social Security, Medicare, and Pensions all together it is no wonder Obama Care was born! Obama Care gives government control of the coming 10,000 monthly Baby Boomers soon to retire and start receiving Social Security benefits, Pensions, and Medicare that will completely overrun our entire big government and big corporation scheme!  It will make abortion numbers look acceptable when our elderly population begins to disappear because the cost is way too high to keep them alive. Keep an eye on the many band-aides yet to come. The debt ceiling is just one of the many to follow! Here is a great asset vs. liability State-by-State comparison on Pensions.  

This video by CBS 60 Minutes describes the coming Pension Tsunami at the State level. Speaking of Pension Tsunami's please visit their website to learn more of this crisis. Please take the time to educate yourself on this topic, as it will help make sense through all the smoke and mirrors by the media and the politicians. This website will give you California's top pension recipient's where the number one retiree receives over 500K annually.

How are the politicians benefitting and involved in this entire pension scheme? Well your tax dollars get funded right back to these politicians and you would be surprised which elected officials receive these dollars through the many corporate campaign donations. VetTheGov visited the Federal Election Commission's search site and entered the top TARP recipient's company name. You will see names like Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Charles Schumer, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Richard Santorum, Mark Udall, John McCain, Charles Rangel, Jason Chaffetz, Tom Tancredo, Herman Cain, and many many more and some TEA PARTY surprises too! Can you say Michele Bachmann?  All of your favorites are buried in these reports somewhere with major contributions given to both political parties!

Here is AIG's PAC report - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00097725/  

Citigroup's PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00008474/

General Motors PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00076810/

Bank of America PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00364778/

JP Morgan Chase PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00128512/

Wells Fargo employee PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00128512/

Ally Financial PAC - See above GM PAC but note Ally is 72% owned by the Treasury Dept. and formally known as GMAC finance arm.

Chrysler PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00043687/

Morgan Stanley PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00337626/

Goldman Sachs PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00265124/

Goldman Sachs other PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00350744/

PNC Financial PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00035519/

PNC Financial other PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00186064/

PNC Financial yet another PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00141036/

US Bancorp PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00018036/

GMAC LLC PAC - See above General Motors PAC. 

Suntrust Bank PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00386524/

Suntrust Bank Florida PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00111567/

Capital One PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00326595/

Capital One other PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00149583/

Regions Financial PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00432252/

Fifth 3rd Bank PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00290502/

American Express PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00040535/

BB&T PAC - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00075291/

Bank of NY Mellon - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00017558/

Keycorp - http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/com_supopp/C00073155/

VetTheGov completed the vicious money circle of your fine tax dollars at work. Hopefully now you are aware of the games from the government and who along with the many corporations try to protect each others interest in the scheme against you the American taxpayer. The protection given or implied is usually misguided/misleading media or talking heads in Washington DC, your State capital cronies, and your local government elected officials.  

The programs mentioned in this story are unsustainable models and why the government is over $14.3 TRILLION in debt with no end or slow down in sight! VetTheGov wanted to show you how all your tax dollars get co-mingled with Corporate Americas publicly traded companies and the United States Federal Government.  Do you think they really have your best interest in mind? 

VetTheGov again hopes this information was helpful and would love to hear any additional thoughts you may have or just a comment you may want to share.   

Friday
Apr082011

Mesa County School Budgets 101 and how the game is played!

VetTheGov spent some time looking into the media hype of why the local, state, and national media during so called budget cuts and why schools get targeted so quickly.  Hopefully this information helps you open your eyes and mind to where your tax dollars go when discussing school budgets. 

VetTheGov started with the State budget proposals, Colorado Department of Education Finance site and then looked close to home here in Mesa County Colorado District 51 posted budget from 2010-2011.  VetTheGov gave a quick glance at the current proposal by Democratic Governor Hickenlooper's administration and especially focused on the management portion on the budget line.  If you look here at the State's total Management budget you will notice that there is requested one more FTE (Full Time Equivalent) than the previous year along with $4,159,401.00 in additional funding.  The total for the Management budget is $49,791,498.00 for only 152.1 FTE's which breaks down to $327,360.28 per FTE.  For Mesa County District Schools office of Superintendent and Executive Directors on page 27 of the budget receive $1,638,236.00 for only 8.6 FTE's.  That equals $190,492.56 per FTE. 

In looking at the District level allocations in the proposed budget you will notice another increase.  The 2011-2012 fiscal year increase to $3,491,017,037.00 (yes this is in Billions of tax dollars) from the 2010-2011 budget of $3,180,288,681.00.  That is a $310,728,356.00 increase.  The current media is reporting a $250 Million decrease to school districts.  VetTheGov is struggling to figure out how they are playing with the numbers and Per Pupil Funding (PPF) allocations.  Here is Hick's latest proposal and YES VetTheGov was correct in that the cuts are coming from the increased line item so in reality there are no cuts but actual increases.  If the above media story is correct that it ended up that only $250 million was decreased in the overall line item then it is over a $52.8 Million increase from last years budget.  Also notice in the revised budget how they use the the Per Pupil Funding wording to state the funding decreased by $496.52 at the bottom of the page from the original proposed budget but not compared to last years budget.  You have to love how the government plays the taxpayers! 

VetTheGov followed the money trail on the actual funding monies provided to our local schools in Mesa County.  CDE only has up to date financials from the 2008-2009 fiscal year.  VetTheGov picked out a couple of interesting portions that create further questions.  In the allocations to the three districts located in Mesa County the Per Pupil Funding (PPF) was significantly higher than being shown on Mesa County's PPF numbers.  District 51 received $9,470.00 Per Pupil for 21,041.8 pupils for a total of $199,263,059.00.  Note here the District shows $6,713.92 Per Pupil for the 2008-2009 fiscal year.  These are the numbers we always hear in the media and so you can now see how they get skewed all the time.  So where does the other $2756.08 go and why isn't this counted in overall PPF? 

VetTheGov noticed a difference in benefit packages and allocations shown.  Here you will observe for the same 2008-2009 fiscal year Mesa County School salaries and benefits.  For District 51 the totals show $6,804.00 Per Pupil.  Another interesting item to point out is the benefit package totals of $28,318,337.00.  Per General Accounting procedures District 51 does not have to show totals of benefits that fund their retirement program called School District Trust Fund and Health Care Trust Fund in which both tie into the Public Employment Retirement Association (PERA).  The district only mentions percentages which are 8% from member and 14.75% match by the State of the covered salary.  Based on District 51 budget numbers they received $15,100,922.00 in revenue for Medical, Dental, and Insurance.  This leaves $13,217,415.00 left over for PERA matches which do not appear in the budget but accounts for $628.15 Per Pupil.  If you take out for PERA from the remaining $2,756.08 Per Pupil you still have $2,127.93 unaccounted for.

Here is where we find some interesting trends towards education.  The first is called Title I Part A.  From the website the purpose of these funds are, "funds support extra instruction in reading and mathematics, as well as special preschool, after-school, and summer programs to extend and reinforce the regular school curriculum."  This section of At-Risk programs found in the District 51 budget account for $20,324,070.00 or $965.89 Per Pupil.  Again the media never tells you of these additional funds funneled through the District for these additional welfare type programs.  If you read the top of the At-Risk section you will notice if a pupil is on the Free Lunch or Reduced Lunch program they are considered At-Risk.  VetTheGov would like to point out that over 45% of pupils qualified for At-Risk programs.  That means 9,756 pupils received free or reduced lunches while 11,686 did not. 

There are also several media reports and more focus being driven towards health and fitness and yet District 51 has a deal in place with Coke.  VetTheGov listens to media all the time that discussed these deals benefitted the schools budget and is why they approved vending machines into the schools.  VetTheGov found that this again is another loser program with the only one benefitting being Swire Coca-Cola.  As you can see the program hasn't made a dime since its inception and is currently on track to lose over $8,000.00 annually. 

VetTheGov is currently researching PERA benefits and a couple of questions come to mind.  First if you are in the PERA program which many are, What happens to your investment if the State of Colorado ever files BANKRUPTCY?  Secondly for Taxpayers, what happens if the PERA funds continue to lose their investment ratio of 8%?  Interesting to note PERA Operating budget for 2011 of $56,988,409.00 was approved by Board of Trustee's in November 2010.

Great charts and information on PERA: http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/2010/01/colorados-pera-222-funding-plan.html

PERA paper by Dr. Barry Poulson: http://transparency.i2i.org/pera-transparency/

VetTheGov hopes you found this information helpful and we welcome any comments on this subject or any others of relevance. 

Sunday
Mar272011

Mesa County 2011 Budget at first glance.

VetTheGov has reviewed the Mesa County 2011 adopted budget found on mesacounty.us website.  VetTheGov found some interesting trends of where your tax dollars are funneled and how they are appropriated. 

Beginning with the Landfill/Solid Waste department which for years was the talk of the town for actual good government business, has now become a negative on the balance sheet.  If you look at the this departments budget statement here you will notice that eventually all good government programs end up losing at some point.  The Solid Waste department will charge $3,875,000.00 for services with total expenditures for the program of $4,625,342.00 for a loss of ($750,342.00).  The positives for this catagory are required personnel which has stayed at Seven Full Time Equivalents (FTE's) and some nice cash reserves.

Animal Services department is budgeted for $912,871.00 with charges for services of $501,100.00 for another loss of ($411,771.00).  The animal services manager annual salary based on monthly gross wages is $111,345.72.  The department also has an animal services director which is paid $72,894.96 annually.  The remaining portion divided up for 13 other positions and operating expenses.  Who would of thought the dog catching business paid so well?  Average response time 28.2 minutes for priority calls.

Here is where it gets interesting!  The Human Services and Health Fund department's employ 306.58 FTE's out of Mesa County's 965.58 FTE's total.  Combined budgets total $28,203,268.00 in which a large portion of their revenue comes from Federal government grants.  The Human Services department has 220.83 FTE's with total appropriations of $21,927,203.00.  From this 21.9 million, $16,963,706.00 goes to salaries, benefits, and operating costs.  Only $4,908,165.00 makes it to actual clients.  See Human Services budget here.  There is no charge for services to clients.  The average Director gross salary is $87,515.00.

The Health Fund department has 85.75 FTE's and is appropriated $6,348,686.00 from the County.  They bill for services $848,465.00.  $6,276,165.00 of the budget is consumed by salaries, benefits, and operating expenses.  This department has around 35 nurses averaging over $60,000.00 in annual salaries.  The Medical Officer makes $147,671.40 gross annually.  Between the Human Services and Health Fund departments 28.2 million dollar budgets they only bill $848,465.00 for services rendered which is a 27.3 million dollar loser and where the County government becomes a welfare county.  See Health Fund budget here.

Last but not the least is the Criminal Justice divisions which consist of the Sheriff's Office, District Attorney's Office, and Criminal Services departments.  Total budget of $31,257,277.00 and 347.50 FTE's out of Mesa County's 965.58 FTE's.  Total revenues into these departments budgeted at $7,648,031.00.  Cost of Criminal Justice/Public Safety services to local taxpayers $23,609,246.00.  Highlights of these agencies are as follows: Pre-Trial services to save over 122 detention beds compared to 114 detention beds in 2010;  Summit View Treatment Services 59% success rate for inpatient treatment down from 75% in 2009; average 388 daily inmates; 77 DUI arrests in 2010 down from 212 in 2009; 67 felony arrest in 2010 down from 188 in 2009; 7.2 minute response time for priority 1 calls in 2010 down from 8.0 minute response time in 2009; 9.5 minute response time for priority 2 calls in 2010 down from 13.2 minute response time in 2009; Citizen complaints in 2010 43 up from 26 in 2009; no information related to court cases from DA's office; Partner's reported 25,496 hours of community service and $134,625.00 in restitution paid.

Overall 67% of Mesa County's employees work in Human Services, Health Fund, and Criminal Justice departments.  VetTheGov sees a trend in regards to a workforce in Mesa County dedicated to pursuing a Social Justice agenda.

Read entire Mesa County budget highlights here.

Here are the 2010 annual salaries for Mesa County excluding the approximate 25% additional benefit package.

Kudos to the current County Commissioner's who proved a 10% across the board cut in the budget is possible.  Maybe our State and Federal governments could use this as a model proving it can be done now with little pain. 

Couple of interesting questions arise when we look at budgets and appropriations come to mind.  Do you feel you are getting your money's worth from the government?  Do you see any way for the government to get away from being a welfare redistribution model? If so, How? Do politicians handle your tax dollars wisely or are their hands tied to the social justice and fairness doctrines established years ago?

Stay tuned as VetTheGov will taker a closer look at the how our government redistributes our tax dollars!

Wednesday
Mar232011

Gay & Lesbian Fund sponsors Highline Hustle Race

On March 10th, 2011 the Grand Junction Parks & Rec dept. listed on their website here regarding the annual Highline Hustle triathlon. What you won't see there today is the 2011 event sponsor Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado logo. The logo was removed in short notice after phone calls placed to the GJ Parks office. You can see original placement of logo here as VetTheGov saved a copy for you to review.

If you are not privy as to who is behind the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado it is none other than activist Tim Gill and operates under the Gill Foundation.  The Gill Foundation is valued at over $200 million and in 2009 alone gave over $10 million to social justice and progressive thought organizations. See 2009 990 IRS filing here.

VetTheGov spoke with the parks department as to why the logo was removed and if there is continued support from the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado. The Parks & Rec. dept. stated they received a $1,000.00 grant from the organization and renegotiated the logo sponsoring rights and ability to distribute material at the event. The $1,000.00 will now be used for prizes and the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado will have no representation at the event and no logo rights. Please see Grant funding guidelines from the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado.

VetTheGov also spoke with the Gay & Lesbian Fund and they have a great presence on the front range and looking to expand further outside of the front range which is why this event excited them. They are not sure if they will attend the event.

VetTheGov would love to hear your thoughts if local governments should receive grants from organizations such as the Gill Foundation.

 

Monday
Jan032011

Mesa County Grand Valley Transit exposed! Part 2

VetTheGov recently spent some time riding a couple of routes. Here are some of the conversations we had with several riders and one route we took even had a Deputy Sheriff that works the buses off duty for safety reasons. We spoke with the Deputy of why they ride the buses and he mentioned it was a grant from Homeland Security due to threats against city transit by terrorist groups. The deputies ride four hour shifts mostly during higher riding days and is extra pay for them.

The day started at the Albertson's pickup location on route 11 that goes to the mall and back and then downtown to the transfer station. There was a male passenger at the stop who was wearing a GVT badge of some sort and we asked him if he worked for GVT.  The man stated he was wearing an annual bus pass and paid $87.00 annually for the pass.  We made the :15 past the hour bus that headed towards the mall first. The bus had eleven passengers on it when we climbed on.  

During the ride and observing the passengers most appeared to be homeless people. There was an exchange in front of us where an individual traded a full sub sandwich for just one cigarette. Where are the social justice police when you need them? We arrived at the the mall and everyone on the bus stepped off. They all huddled around the entrance to the mall and shared some cigarettes. Three people entered the bus for the return trip back towards Albertson's. The entire trip took over 40 minutes to make it back to where we first started. However our intentions were to make it to the downtown transfer station so we stayed on. Our next stop was just past the Colorado river where we picked up another homeless person who smelled of campfire. On to the transfer station with only two other passengers. 

Once at the transfer station we made it onto the route 5 bus which runs down North Ave. all the way to the Clifton transfer station. This was the largest of buses and most ridden bus for GVT. On the bus we spoke with several riders. One of the riders rode the bus to his workplace and he mentioned he was on a work release program. The rider paid 4.00 monthly since he was on work release and didn't like several things of having to ride this particular bus. He didn't like the inconvenience of the route having only one bus. He didn't like the fact he had to arrive to work 40 minutes before his shift in order to not be late. He also mentioned the buses stopped at 7 PM and he was unable to get home after work. Lastly he mentioned the bus did not travel on Sundays which seemed to be a huge inconvenience for him.

Another rider mentioned he was also on a work release program but currently had no employment. This rider received a free pass and had to make three contacts with potential employers during the day to receive the pass. 

We spoke with an anonymous source who rode the bus often and had many insightful observations for us. This source mentioned that most riders receive free passes for the bus since they are homeless and stay at the local shelters downtown. These homeless ride the bus to go eat and buy alcohol and basically use the bus to keep warm and have their social time together. We spoke with one 27 year old who used the bus to attend treatments for his emotional conditions and AA meetings. This person was on SSDI and stayed at an assisted living arrangement here in Grand Junction.

VetTheGov continued to learn that there was a single parent with a couple of kids that rode the bus to get to work and back. This single parent paid full price for the bus in order to support her family. We noticed that most of the riders had passes of some sort as not much money was ever placed into the payment box in the front of the buses.

The other main riders on the GVT system are high schoolers going to a school outside their district. The bus system works well for the kids since they begin so early in the morning and drop off near Grand Junction HS. With this demographic also brings trouble and we learned that drug deals happen often on these buses hence the need for deputies and video cameras on the buses. There is another influence that was the most disturbing for us and that is the influence of the group Insane Clown Posse within Grand Junction. Here is a webpage that shows some of the culture and lyrics used by this group/gang. This gang uses the bus as their mobile facebook and typically sit in the rear of the buses. They discuss how to use the government systems for their benefit so they can leach off of the system. Most of them don't work and are between 17-20 years old. You can recognize them because they wear the ICP logo clothing. They also learn from the lyrics and culture that is becoming very influential over the youth of our country that you the taxpayer are supporting without even knowing you are. Here is a story written in Phoenix about this group which gives a little insight about the culture of these juggalos.

Tuesday
Nov302010

Mesa County Grand Valley Transit exposed! Part 1

What does it cost to run well over 25 public buses in the Grand Valley? After spending many days going through multiple government website financial information, VetTheGov has discovered a large amount of local, state, and federal tax dollars being spent on a losing proposition for the community.

Under the TIP (Transportation Improvement Program) Mesa County receives Federal and State grants for the Grand Valley Transit (GVT) public bus system. From 2008-2010 the local tax payers have spent $5,191,932.00 for the GVT. For the 2011 budget alone the local taxpayers are on the hook for $2,582,500.00 and then the program receives another $5,760,000.00 from State and Federal grants.  See all funding numbers here! 

Click here for 2010 transportation funded grants.  Here is the County's justification study! The social justice/social equity/environmental justice found on pages II-3 and II-4 bring up many interesting questions in regards to fiscal responsibility to tax payers. In reading further in the justification study you will find it is derived from an original study used for the U.S. Forest Service and is now used for local transportation impacts. They use what is called the ripple effect. We will try and explain this process in layman's terms. 

Let's take your personal vehicle that you use for work and personal use and add the government ripple effect plan of how it impacts the local community. Hypothetical scenario will use a 25,000.00 vehicle and an annual salary of 55,000.00. This one vehicle and worker using the ripple effect now becomes responsible for every job and salaries at their work, the car manufacturer, the car dealership, the local gas stations, insurance companies, and everywhere they spend their 55,000.00 earnings and yes even their taxes for local, state, and federal employees and agencies. The return on every dollar they spend is off the charts. This is how the government we elect redistributes your tax dollars and tries to justify using the ripple effect.

Here is the link to the Federal Transit Administration which explains the grant programs being used by Mesa County. This site is where you will find what these individual FTA grants are used for and how the Federal government tentacles reach into local neighborhoods. As noted in the funding numbers the following grants are being funded in Mesa County: FTA 5307, 5309, 5311, 5316, and 5317.

In the latest GJSentinel.com article on the GVT it states they hope to reach ridership of 980,000 by the end of the year. This breaks down to 3192 daily riders since they do not operate on six holidays and Sundays.  If we use current $1.00 per rider per day this equates to $980,000.00 in potential revenue.  If we use 2011 projected budget amounts of $8,342,500.00 less $980,000.00 we have a loss of $7,362,500.00. It is hard to imagine any private sector business could keep their doors open with these types of loses. In reading the GJSentinel article the Sheriff's office has assigned deputies to ride the buses. Could this be where the school resource officers were reassigned after budget cuts. This is another example of being stuck with a government service that effects budgets in other areas of greater concern. In this case you see the bus system is of greater importance than safety in our schools.

In breaking down the spending in more detail, VettheGov located the last spending report from Mesa County's website. In line items 185170 and 185165 you will see the monthly expense from the County's General Fund for drivers and fuel for the GVT program totaling $174,770.93. This excludes any administrative or maintenance cost. GVT subcontracts the bus drivers from a huge multi-billion dollar company called First Transit locally but the main company Firstgroup is headquartered in the UK which bought out Laidlaw.

In reading through an onboard study located on Regional Transportation planning office website, the following reason was the highest score, "Passengers were asked the most important reason they ride the bus. As shown in Figure II-6, the top reasons for riding the bus are passengers who do not drive (46 percent) and passengers whose families do not have cars (1percent reported that the bus is a convenient way to travel)." Out of the 394 surveyed 110 were 18 or younger while 12 were over the age of 65. Over half of the riders earned under $15,000.00 annually.  

So here is an idea! Of the 7.3 million in loses, we could purchase vans for each government agency such as work release and hire a driver to transport these individuals wherever they needed to go and save tons of money doing so.

In regards to getting individuals to work, why isn't the burden on the employer? What happens when the grant funding stops? Why doesn't the government tell us why they keep these losing programs?

 

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