Backed by State Senate President Pro Tem Peter Groff( D), Hanna last week vowed to use subpoena powers against the gag order Owens issued to key State employees in order to gain access to the information. [Spending Battle Looms, Colorado Daily, January 5, 2006 ]
In Spring 2005, Gov. Owens[send him mail] blocked Hanna's "Keep Jobs in America Act" SB 05-023, which would have prohibited Colorado from spending tax dollars to secure services from contractors using "offshore" foreign-based workers. Originally deemed to have no fiscal impact upon the State's budget, the bill stalled when Owens suddenly announced — with no supporting data — that it would cost the State $24 million to hire Americans rather than foreigners. When he threatened to veto the bill, Hanna withdrew it.
Owens also prohibited State agency officials and cabinet members from answering legislators' questions regarding the State's practice of using outsourced, offshore workers to do contract work, claiming the Colorado Legisature was overreaching its powers as it sought answers.
As Owens hog-tied Hanna, numerous multimillion dollar software packages designed by EDS and Accenture LLP under State contracts, reportedly using offshore programmers, crashed and burned. Problems with an election software package forced the State to cancel a $10.5 million contract with Accenture LLP, which refunded the State a mere $2 million. Accenture also refunded $8.2 million for an unworkable unemployment insurance package, brokering a deal that kept State officials from discussing it.
According to the Rocky Mountain News, 26 percent — $3.7 billion — of Colorado's 2003-4 $14 billion budget was spent on private contracts and outsourcing.
Last week, Gov. Owens says he will not relinquish control of the State's procurement process, and wants to review questions posed by an interim committee studying State contracting practices before he allows his administration public servants! to testify.. His spokesman claims Owens welcomes the committee suggestions only if Democrats don't turn problems with recent contracts into "a political football."
Personally, I hope Hanna plays hardball with obfuscating Owens.
Smart Republican legislators will join Hanna to demand Owens — who calls himself the"most fiscally conservative Governor in the West" — open the books and explain why Colorado is offshoring jobs when the State's once-promising high tech industry has all but collapsed.
Republicans should note that during Owens's tenure, the GOP lost control of the State legislature, and handed over a US Senate seat to Democrats when Owens suddenly switched his endorsement of a proven conservative candidate to the untested Pete Coors. Owens's recent support of a huge tax grab (Ref. C,) coupled with his admission he couldn't account for $1 of State money spent on illegal aliens, made his self-anointed "fiscally conservative" status downright laughable.
Recently, Owens said he will seek private sector employment when he is term-limited out of office. Are his offshoring activities really just resume enhancers?