TRUTH TEST: Republicans attack Hickenlooper, part 2

6:03 AM, May 8, 2010   |    comments
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The RGA is registered as a 527 political organization under the federal tax code which means contributions to it are not deductible and that its donors are public. (Source: IRS website)

The ad targets Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, the Democratic candidate for governor this fall. Republicans Scott McInnis and Dan Maes and Castle Rock businessman Joe Gschwendtner are candidates for that party's nomination. Gov. Bill Ritter (D-Colorado) has decided not to run for another term.

The organization is running "39,000" and a second commercial called "Stripes," 29 times a week on the networks of 9NEWS for at least the next three weeks at a gross cost of roughly $129,300.

QUOTE: Thirty nine thousand Denver jobs lost under John Hickenlooper's high tax policies.

TRUTH: The figure cited comes from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and was quoted in the Denver Business Journal as the number of jobs lost in the Denver metropolitan area in 2009. (Source: Denver Business Journal, Feb. 2, 2010:

The more accurate figures come through the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. Its culling of the data shows from 2007 when the recession started until preliminary figures from March 2010, the number of unemployed people in the city and county of Denver has increased from 13,682 in 2007 to 29,206 in March 2010. That's a total of roughly 15,500 people or an increase in the unemployment rate from 4.3 percent to 9.3 percent. (Source: CO Department of Labor and Employment:

QUOTE: Frontier Airlines, a hometown company, told Hickenlooper, Denver taxes were too high.

TRUTH: This is true. When Republic Airlines succeeded in buying Frontier, Denver, Indianapolis and Milwaukee were all bidding for Frontier's maintenance, customer service and headquarters jobs. At the time, Republic's chief executive Bryan Bedford told The Denver Post in an interview that Denver's sales tax and software tax were "prohibitively high." (Source: Denver Post, Nov. 9, 2009,

Specifically, he was referring to a sales and use tax on airplane parts brought into the city and a software tax on processing on-line purchases for airlines and hotels.

"If we buy parts in Denver, we get taxed. In Milwaukee, we get a rebate," Bedford told the Post on Nov. 15. "Our message back to the (Colorado) political leaders: Taxes matter."

QUOTE: But, Hickenlooper stuck to his high tax agenda.

TRUTH: This is not true. It certainly needs some context.

First, the 3.62 percent sales and use tax has been law in Denver since 1982, so it pre-dates by more than two decades when Hickenlooper took office in 2003. (Source: Treasury Division, City and County of Denver:

Further, 9NEWS has obtained letters sent from the city and state's economic development team to Republic and Frontier executives offering to suspend payment of that tax for Frontier for at least ten years at a savings to the airlines of up to $1.5 million per year. The city's proposal also offered direct cash incentives and the forgiveness of back taxes for a total of $3.3 million.

Where the city was not willing to budge however was on the software sales tax. That sales tax brings in $5-$10 million per year and Jeff Romine, chief economist with the Denver Office of Economic Development, told a City Council committee in October 2009, if the city waived that for Frontier, it would need to do so for all affected companies. According to the Denver Post, Romine said the city budget's shortfall "limits our ability to do that." (Source: Denver Post, Oct. 8, 2009: )

QUOTE: Forcing Frontier to move two hundred jobs to Wisconsin - one hundred forty more to Indiana.

TRUTH: Whether they were forced out of Colorado is really open to interpretation, but Republic CEO Bedford said he received a better deal in those other states than he did in Colorado.

"In this industry," Bedford told The Denver Post, "you can't do work where you are economically disincentivized."

QUOTE: Just part of Denver's thirty-nine thousand jobs lost under John Hickenlooper's job-killing policies.

TRUTH: See above for accurate numbers. Whether Hickenlooper's job policies are "job-killing" is opinion.

QUOTE: John Hickenlooper - Bill Ritter, politicians of the same stripe. Raising Taxes. Killing jobs.

TRUTH: This is an opinion.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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