The Colorado State Senate voted Thursday in SB22-184 to approve pay leave for lawmakers in other circumstances, subject to long-term illness, parental leave, or approval of the member’s respective chamber leadership. The bill was passed by a 32-2 vote in the state senate, with only opposition from senators Larry Liston (R-Colorado Springs) and Jerry Sonenberg (R-Sterling).
Sonnenberg spoke on the floor of the Senate before the vote to explain his opposition. Here is his argument:
Sonenberg: I’m old school, and I struggle with using taxpayer dollars to pay for not working. [Pols emphasis] And my parents are no exception when it comes to raising children. From my point of view, I’m fighting it everywhere.
… Basically, I struggle with paying someone when they are not doing their job. Thank you, Mr. President. I would be a ‘no’.
It’s interesting to hear that Sonnenberg is opposed to “using taxpayer dollars to pay for not working.” He claims to be “fighting with it everywhere,” but not if it comes back Him.
Here’s how the Environmental Working Group describes the Federal Firm Subsidy Program (all our emphasis):
The Freedom to Farm Act of 1996 envisioned a shift away from subsidized agriculture to a free-market system. As a transformation, the Farm Bill of 1996 established a direct payment program for government exemptions of farmers. The payments are based on a formula involving historical production on the land granted in 1986. This set of payments goes to the current land owner or farm operator each year. The program has been maintained beyond its intended lifespan and has become a federal entitlement program for farmers at a cost of about $ 5 billion per year to the government.
With at least $ 185,991 raised between 2016-2020, Sonnenberg is apparently still in the “breast-feeding” phase of this transformation. Sonnenberg will happily accept taxpayers’ money in the form of farm subsidies, but he draws a line to pay leave for lawmakers who earn about k 40k per year in the first place.