Repent and tax no more!
Last year, the Colorado General Assembly passed a really stupid law that cost a lot of Coloradans money. In a misguided attempt to recoup sales tax lost when people buy goods from online vendors like Amazon.com, they passed a law requiring online retailers that don’t collect sales tax to notify both customers and the state when a customer’s online purchases exceed $500. The state would then require that the customer pay sales tax on that amount directly to the state.
In a cash-strapped state like Colorado, it made a lot of sense to some people — at least on paper.
In reality, it meant a lot of new expenses for online retailers, which suddenly needed to devote staff time, paper and postage to tallying individual customer purchases and notifying the state government and their customers about the amount each customer spent. It also meant a lot of confusion for residents who found themselves wondering if the new law had turned them into tax criminals.
Boulder Weekly said at the time it was a stupid move, but the bill passed anyway. This spring, it seemed lawmakers were coming around. A bill eliminating the law, House Bill 1318, passed the Colorado House on May 5, but as of press time Wednesday, the last day of the session, it appeared to be doomed.
It’s troubling that the bill’s initial success was due at least in part to the fact that it failed to raise the projected millions for state coffers and was likely to be struck down in court if it wasn’t eliminated from state statute.
It would be more reassuring if lawmakers were repenting last year’s vote because they realized how anti-business and burdensome the law was. Apparently that’s too much to ask.
Sharia law in Colorado
Did you know it’s illegal to “commit adultery” in Colorado? Neither did we.
But it is. And although there was a push to get that law off the books, conservatives succeeded in quashing that effort. Some religious conservatives argued that keeping the law would be a victory for morality, even if the law was never enforced again.
This is just one of those instances where reality clashes with religion. It’s been a long time since an A stitched on clothing stood for anything other than the Oakland As. Even the term “adultery” feels dated. Not that the notion of being faithful to one’s spouse has disappeared. Far from it. Fooling around on one’s spouse or partner is still viewed as a bad thing to do. But is it criminal?
Those conservative Christians would be the first to shriek if a Muslim group tried to enact Sharia law — conservative law based on the Quran — here in our state. It seems just as backward to attempt to preserve the tatters of Christian “sharia” in Colorado.
Campus coffers, part 2
A couple of weeks back, we asked what we thought were a couple of simple questions of CU officials after they trotted out their new “Creating Futures” fundraising campaign.
Upon hearing claims that the university raised $1 billion in the previous “Beyond Boundaries” campaign between 1997 and 2003, we wondered: How much of that total was the widely trumpeted $250 million pledge from Claudia and Bill Coleman in 2001 that, how shall we say it, never fully materialized? We also asked if CU was counting in that total the $92.7 million committed by Gasper Lazzara in 2003 that fell through.
After only a mild runaround, here’s the reply from CU spokesperson Ken McConnellogue: “We count both pledge commitments and current cash gifts in campaign totals (we do not count estate gifts unless they realize during the campaign period). The Colemans have two separate gift streams. The first was counted in Beyond Boundaries and the second is being counted in Creating Futures. As to amounts, the Colemans giving total to date remains private. This is a general rule of thumb we follow for all donors unless they direct us otherwise (or make the amount known themselves), so we take the same approach with Lazzara.”
Our good old public university won’t release information? Shocking.