November 19, 2023


During the 1988 Republican National Convention, then presidential nominee George H. W. Bush, resoundingly utter the words, “Read my lips: no new taxes”. Little did he know that those very words would come back to defeat him in 1992 when he lost his bid for a second term to President William Jefferson Clinton. That ultimately was the defeat of President George H. W. Bush. Let me fast forward to present day when the voters in Colorado utter those very words, “Read my lips: no new taxes” with the colossal defeat of Proposition HH. A proposition which was disguised as a tax relief. When in reality it was a proposition that would have been a massive tax increase on everyday Coloradoans. The voters were wise and read the fine print and said no.

There has always been a debate on who is more tax hungry, the democrats or the republicans. The older I get the more I realize that neither one of them cares, that if there is a way to siphon money from the voters, they will do it. They do it by creating some emotion filled reason as to why they need your money, and they hope that you the voter is dumb enough to believe them. All the while they have no interest in using your money for the intended reason, they want you to fall for.

When I was appointed to the Weld County Council earlier this year, I was clear that I had no agenda. That it is the job of the council to adhere to the Weld County Home Rule Charter and to make sure that Weld County residents are put before the bureaucracy of the county. One of the duties of the council is to approve or deny any additional tax revenue collected that rises above the county charter limits. In simplified terms, the county is prohibited from retaining tax revenue that was collected in the previous year plus five percent (5%). Now Weld County is in a predicament. The massive increase in assessed value for property owners in Weld County has generated higher taxes. Weld County is expected to collect $366 million dollars in tax revenue in 2024, which is $78.5 million dollars above the Weld County Home Rule Charter limits. In 2024 Weld County can only retain $288 million dollars. 

As I said, Weld County is in a predicament as to what to do with the $78.5 million dollars that they cannot hold onto without the approval of the Weld County Council. in October Commissioner’s Freeman, James and Ross came before the County Council to persuade us that the county is in dire need of a new complex at Island Grove. However, after 2 ½ hours of questioning by the Council, of which the majority came from me, Commissioner Freeman finally admitted the inevitable truth. That the Commissioners can do whatever they want with the money. When pressed, he couldn’t even commit that the money would go to a new facility at Island Grove.

Commissioner’s Freeman, James and Ross remind me of Uncle Scrooge, from Ducktales. They want to take your money, dump it all into their offices and swim around in it every day. Using that money with zero accountability. Oh, by the way, all three of these commissioners are republicans. Wait, I thought republicans were for lower taxes? Less government? Fiscal responsibility? Well of course they are when they are pointing the fingers at democrats right? But they forget is three are pointing right back at them. Ultimately the resolution failed 2-3 with Councilwoman Teksten and Beemer voting in favor and Councilmen Welch, Hatch and Leisy voting against the resolution.

One would have thought that a message was sent to the three money hungry commissioners that if they want more money then they can ask the voters for more money. Nope, they now want to come before the Weld County Council again on November 20th and ask for the money again, but this time, they claim they can prove they will be in a financial shortfall. That they will be so negatively impacted that it could cause financial harm to the county. Even though the county has over $500 million in cash and investments currently. 

To not bore you with too much technical detail the Weld County Home Rule Charter clearly states in Section 14-7 (2) (a) “If the Board be of the opinion, the amount of tax limited by the preceding Section will be insufficient for the County needs for the current year, it may submit the question of an increased levy to the County Council …” To simplify things, Commissioner’s Freeman, James and Ross want you to believe that even though the county will have an excess of $78.5 million dollars in 2024, that they will be in a financial short fall. That the county will have to stop providing certain services. That the county will have to lay people off. That the county will be unable to construct another ridiculous roundabout. 

So, on the heels of Proposition HH failing, Commissioner’s Freeman, James and Ross still want your money. They know the voters of Weld County will not approve a tax increase, so they want to circumvent the system, circumvent the voters, just so they can walk into their offices every day and swim around in your hard-earned money. These establishment RINO republicans are not conservative, and they do not believe in conservative values. Make no mistake, they are nothing more than power hungry elected officials who are not representing their constituents and who want to rob money from the very voter who cast a vote for them.

One may ask, where is Commissioner Buck in all this? She is absent from this conversation. Is that intentional? The only Commissioner who has stood up to this big government power grab by the three sitting commissioners is Commissioner Saine. Who has withstood the test of time with the daily dose of abuse she receives from all four of the commissioners. Who has been stripped of all coordinator positions due to her stance on conservative values and protecting the people. Who was shouted down during the October meeting by Commissioner Freeman due to her opposition to the resolution and for standing firm against the political power grab by the RINO republican Commissioner’s Freeman, James and Ross.

This is typical big government bureaucracy as the commissioners have known about this situation since March and have neglected to inform the council until October. In hopes that we would just “go along to get along”. In hopes that they can create a sense of urgency at the last minute that would force the hands of the council to approve the resolution as the Commissioners are coming down to their deadline to approve the 2024 budget.

All Weld County residents should be enraged by this power grab, by this Uncle Scrooge philosophy that your money belongs in their hands. Have your voice be heard by coming to the November 20th Council meeting that will be held at the Weld County Administration Building located at 1150 O Street Greeley, CO 80631. Meeting starts at 6:30 PM. Send an email of dissent to the commissioners at: Commissioner Freeman This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Commissioner Ross This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Commissioner James This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Commissioner Buck This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and Commissioner Saine This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. These commissioners need to hear from you, they need to know that your money is off limits.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed are my views only and are not a reflection of the entire Weld County Council.

Trent Leisy
Weld County Council District 1
Candidate for Colorado’s Congressional District 4