Child-care tax fills voting booths
VAIL ” For every yes vote on ballot measure 1A, there seems to be a similar chime. But it’s the no votes that ring different chords.
Voters across Eagle County were split on the measure that would raise about $3.5 million in 2007 for early childhood development programs.
“I voted yes on it,” said David Crambell, 25. “Coming from an area in Michigan, that has had some pretty big issues with child care, it’s important. I’d like to start a family here and I think money should be allotted to the kids.”
“I’m very supportive of it,” said Wendy Becker, 47, of Eagle-Vail, a mother of three. “I firmly believe if we don’t give our kids a good start, they are going to have problems later on.”
Tom Kirk, a retired Vail resident, doesn’t see a reason for the tax. “Vail is a community, so many people up here are older,” Kirk said. “We paid our dues for years and paid our children’s way. I just don’t see fit, why they should increase my taxes to pay for other children.
“If you have children, pay for them,” he said. “It’s as simple as that.”
Not all those opposed to the measure were opposed to the actual tax, however.
“I voted against it because it was too wide open,” said Steve Lee, 40, of Edwards. “There are too many loopholes. I would have loved to, believe me. That was something I really wanted to vote for, but it was so open to interpretation, and the money could go anywhere.
“If they would have made it specific,” Lee said, “it would have been an easy one.”
Some voters recognized the high costs of putting kids through child care, and think the measure could help make child care more affordable.
“I paid for it, but it was very expensive, and I know a lot of people need to wait for kindergarten,” said Robin Ouimette of Vail. “The sooner kids get a head start, the better off they are.”
The tax would cost homeowners in Eagle County an additional $11.50 per $100,00 of assessed value if the measure is approved.
“I think it makes sense,” said Gary Fuller of Eagle-Vail. “If we have an opportunity to do things that help out, preschool or child care, we should. I think its fair. People will pay $40 or $50 a year ” that’s not too much.”
Linda Miller, 56, of Eagle, feels education measures should be taxed in a different manner. “We need to tax education through groceries,” Miller said. “I’m paying, and I’m fine with that. I don’t have a problem with paying and my children are gone.”
But Miller thinks the measure ignores a larger problem.
“I was in education for 13 years, and I believe in education, but I think some of us are missing the point,” Miller said. “The parents need to be there. If you put the child in preschool and the parents’ values and input on the child aren’t there, that doesn’t necessarily (matter).”
“I’m against the principal. I think there’s too much entitlement going on,” said Marlene Zamites, who has lived in Vail for 12 years. “They can’t run the schools they’ve got, so this is just going to spread it thinner. I really feel if parents want their kids to go to preschool, it’s their responsibility, not mine.”
Other voters thought the tax was minimal, all things considered.
“I don’t think it’s too much money and I think in some ways it’s a double-edge sword,” said Blondie Vucich, 57. “You look at the cost of living here and it’s very expensive. One thing at least they can say about the valley is the fact the people do care about kids and early childcare development, so I think it’s an important investment.”
And not everyone in the county feels overtaxed.
“I’ve lived here for a number of years, and it’s always concerned me that I think our taxes are too low here,” said Peter Rudy, 53. “I think we need to be responsible and pay for (1A). All the studies show that every nickel we spend on kids comes back to us in more productive kids and less crime and things like that. I thought it was a small thing to do.”
Darling Borstad opposed the tax, but thinks there are other ways to get the money.
“If you have problems and can’t afford children or child care, go to the county. The county has all kinds of help,” Borstad said.
With voters still waiting for results, a few weighed in on possible outcomes.
“I don’t have kids yet, so it may not be the end of the world if it doesn’t pass right now,” Fuller said.
Staff Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado