Colorado Springs Becomes Tea Party Paradise

Cash-strapped government shrinks and shrinks

By Kevin Spak,  Newser User

Posted Apr 13, 2010 12:38 PM CDT
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(Newser) – Just how conservative is Colorado Springs? So conservative that even the Wall Street Journal says it’s “Taking Small Government to the Extreme.” The town is strapped for cash, but voters have rejected a tax increase, urging the government to slash services instead. Letters to the town council and local newspapers are pouring in, demanding that community centers be closed, the police department shrunk, and city-owned utilities sold off.

Already the city has had to turn off a third of its street lights, and it's begging for volunteers to handle jobs it once paid for—like emptying park garbage cans, cleaning graffiti, and staffing public swimming pools. It’s even asked taxi drivers to serve as extra eyes for its dwindling police force. The model has had some successes, and some conservatives are singing its praises. But poor neighborhoods are suffering, unable to raise the money to replace municipal services like after-school childcare.

Colorado Springs' skyline is seen in this file photo.
Colorado Springs' skyline is seen in this file photo.   (Shutterstock)
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We're a model of how cities can creatively adapt to budget adversity. You can have great quality of life without a great big government at the
heart of it. - Sean Paige, city council member and self-proclaimed libertarian

People will probably think, 'Gosh, we ought to hire someone to do this.' Well, you did: the Parks Department. - Steve Immel, founder of the Proud of Our Parks initiative, which seeks out volunteers to empty trash cans in the city's parks

Let's start cutting stupid programs that cost taxpayers a pot of money. It's so bullying and disrespectful to take money from one man's pocket and put it in another's. - Tim Austin, Colorado Springs resident

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