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.