Who'da thunk that liberal Democratic congressman-elect Jared Polis could make conservative Rocky Mountain News editorial-page editor Vince Carroll gush as he does in today's column "Polis Off to Great Start"? Apparently only Carroll himself, who writes, "More than a year ago, I suggested that Polis would prove to be a far more independent member of Congress than the Democratic front-runner at the time, former state Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald. But I hardly expected him to prove it before he'd even taken the oath of office."
The most recent reason for Carroll's enthusiasm was a Polis piece published by the Wall Street Journal yesterday. Titled "Let's Cut Cap-Gains Taxes on Auto Investments" (and subtitled "Then the private sector can do the 'bailout'"), the op-ed argues against the very kind of bill passed by the House of Representatives -- Polis's future work address -- just yesterday. Here's the crux of his argument:
By waiving the future capital-gains tax on all investments in the automobile industry, we enhance the projected return models and therefore the likely occurrence of a privately funded "bailout." There are turnaround firms and funds, and they are experts at what needs to be done. Tax exemption for gains would certainly get their attention. It also wouldn't cost taxpayers anything because it only forgoes future government revenues that wouldn't exist absent this incentive.
At the very least, my constituents in Colorado won't find themselves as limited partners in a private equity fund run by Congress making speculative investments in flagging automobile manufacturers and who knows what else with their taxpayer money. And Congress can focus on issues more directly related to its core competencies and the necessary role of government, such as how to make training accessible to workers who might be transitioning between industries.
Hard to know how that kind of pragmatism will play among Polis's constituents -- but he may very well find out firsthand tomorrow. He's making a public appearance in Lafayette, as he notes in a newsletter sent to folks on his e-mail list late last night. It reads:
Two wars, a global recession, and the threat of bioterrorism were some of the "upbeat" topics covered at our recent orientation week for new members of Congress.
As we navigate the difficulties of preparing office space and staff and getting ready to open the doors of my Congressional office on Jan 6th , I have an even deeper admiration for the vastly more complicated transition efforts of President-Elect Barack Obama. We will soon be announcing our offices in Adams County, Boulder County, and the mountains and I also look forward to introducing you to our team.
Getting our economy going again will be at the top of Congress's agenda. I authored a piece in yesterday's Wall Street Journal suggesting tax incentives to encourage a privately funded bailout of the automobile manufacturers so that taxpayers are not on the hook. We also need to find ways to attract capital to our real estate sector, and the expansion of our EB-5 Visa program is a great way to do that. I also believe that health care reform can help make American businesses more competitive and look forward to making progress on this issue next year.
I am in Washington DC today, and back in Colorado Friday morning. If you would like to visit in person, I have a public event this Friday in Lafayette:
Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 7:00pm - 9:00pm 1241 Ceres Drive Lafayette, CO
Thank you again for hiring me for this important job. I look forward to your input and ideas.
Jared Polis Member Elect, United States Congress Second Congressional District of Colorado
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If you go, you might get a chance to meet Vince Carroll, too. -- Michael Roberts