Road Warriors

Boon or boondoggle, Bill Owens's highway plan has to get past Douglas Bruce before it goes anywhere.

"It's immoral for government to be parceling out tax breaks," he says. "People are tired of being bribed with their own money and then being punished and pushed around."

Bruce is passionately proprietary about TABOR. He seems genuinely surprised that people aren't more grateful for what it's accomplished and don't understand his ferocious efforts to preserve its legacy. His desire to protect his creation is the driving force behind his perennial forays into public life, including the campaign against TRANS.

In fact, TRANS may be the most severe test to date. Whatever arguments Bruce might advance about dubious construction timetables and exorbitant interest, he doesn't really share the environmentalists' hatred of highways. His mission has a deeply personal side. If TRANS passes, it opens the door to similar financing schemes and surging government growth that could jeopardize a decade of hard work. Despite the forces gathered against him, Douglas Bruce isn't going to sit quietly and watch that happen.

Debt and taxes: Bruce debates the highway plan with TRANS campaign manager Dick Wadhams (left) for a television program hosted by Jon Caldara (center).
Brett Amole
Debt and taxes: Bruce debates the highway plan with TRANS campaign manager Dick Wadhams (left) for a television program hosted by Jon Caldara (center).

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Bruce believes that government should live within its means, mean what it says, and take no more out of people's pockets than they are willing to yield. His solution to the governmental form of highway robbery is stunningly simple, just like the answer he gave to legislative staffers when they asked him what he hoped to accomplish by adding a $25-a-year-per-tax cut to TABOR.

"The government won't obey the law," Bruce told them. "It never will obey the law. The only recourse is to take away their money so they have nothing to do but sit around and twiddle their thumbs."

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