Michael Fields wants criminals to serve at least 85% of their sentence

BY FREDA MIKLIN
GOVERNMENTAL REPORTER

Prior to assuming the role of president of Advance Colorado Institute, Michael Fields was the executive director of Colorado Rising Action as well as the Colorado state director of Americans for Prosperity, a national conservative organization whose mission is to “advocate for long-term solutions to…unsustainable government spending…a broken immigration system…a rigged economy.” Trained as an attorney, Fields has taught elementary and middle school in Aurora in addition to working in government and advocacy. 

Michael Fields is president of Advance Colorado Institute. Photo by Freda Miklin

Advance Colorado is a conservative think tank that also provides training for candidates for political office.

On March 1, Fields told members of the Arapahoe County Republican Breakfast Club meeting at Maggiano’s DTC that his organization is focused on “policies that matter to people,” including education, public safety, and the cost of living, as influenced by taxes and the state budget. He explained  that the current state legislature, in which Democrats hold a significant majority, is “coming after our TABOR (Taxpayer Bill of Rights passed by the voters in 1992) refunds of $9 billion over the next four years,” and Coloradans’ gun rights.

Pointing to the general assembly’s stated policy of using TABOR money that is not refunded for education, Fields asserted, “Only 55% of education money gets to the classroom. We all want teachers to get paid more, but that money is going to administrative costs.” In Colorado, allocation of monies for specific expenses in K-12 public education are determined by local elected school boards.

Fields noted the importance of TABOR in controlling spending by the legislature, which he said contained many liberals “who want to raise everybody’s taxes, grow government, raise property taxes even more, etc., etc.” He said their policy is, “We want everything. Why can’t we get even more of people’s money?” and that they are trying to enact “green policies that will hurt businesses.”

Another area of great concern Fields noted was the potential for significant increases in residential property taxes resulting from the combination of repealing the Gallagher Amendment in 2020 and rising property values, “unless the legislature does something this year.” SB22-238 “2023 and 2024 Property Tax,” passed and signed into law in 2022, provides a temporary solution to the problem for this year and next year, but not beyond that. The issue is being discussed currently by Colorado Concern, a highly regarded group of business leaders, but no solution has been adopted by the legislature as of this writing.

Pointing to the fact that, “77% of Republicans and 72% of Democrats turned out in Colorado” in the November 2022 elections, when Democratic candidates won overwhelmingly, Fields said, “It’s not a turnout issue. The problem is that Republicans (in Colorado) are only 24% of the electorate; 47% of people are now unaffiliated,” adding that many of the unaffiliated “are still open to good ideas,” like cutting taxes.  Fields has been instrumental in sponsoring ballot issues to cut the state income tax rate in the past and vowed to continue to do so in future elections. 

He also talked about the crime rate across the state, which has been rising, as has the rate of recidivism. Since most criminals in Colorado currently serve only 40% of their sentence, Fields plans to promote a ballot measure that would require violent offenders to serve no less than 85% of the time to which they are sentenced after being convicted.

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