Letter: It’s time for tax reform in Eagle County | VailDaily.com

Letter: It’s time for tax reform in Eagle County

Michael Beltracchi
Edwards, CO Colorado

“I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.” I can only imagine that is what Commissioner Peter Runyon would say if he knocked on my door during an election campaign. In his view, bigger government is better and will fix all of what ails society, including dying trees.

Eagle County has had unprecedented growth. But with that growth, hasn’t there been an unprecedented proportionate growth in taxes paid in general as more property has been developed?

In looking at Commissioner Runyon’s chart “Where your tax dollars go,” the largest line item is School District (all the money goes to the state.) This seems to imply that we the taxpayers send 34 percent of our tax bill to the state and we will never see it again. Doesn’t most of that money come back to fund our local schools? More money spent on schools doesn’t always equate to better education. NYC and the District of Columbia have two of the highest rates of spending per pupil in the country, yet they don’t have the best schools. Didn’t we just pass a $100+ million bond issue less than two years ago to build at least three new schools and renovate several others?

Let’s look at who’s going to pay all of these increased taxes, besides the 62 percent of the residential property tax that is being paid by second homeowners. Such as the case with the plumber from Edwards whose taxes have almost tripled in four years, every other business that we patronize, such as grocery and retail stores, restaurants gas stations as well as the ski hills will get hit with higher property tax bills. These new taxes, which add to the overhead expense of these business, will be passed along to consumers of these products and services in the form of higher prices

Residential rents will go up as property owners will have to cover the higher costs associated with owning their properties. Will second homeowners pay the bulk of these costs? No, it will be the people who live and work in Eagle County on a daily basis.

Starting with Governor Ritter’s “tax freeze” on the mill levy rate paid for schools last fall and continuing with almost every other taxing authority that affects us finding a way to raise their rates in a way that far exceeds the current rate of inflation, we are heading into a period of government initiated inflation, and it could be hyper-inflation.

History shows that economic expansion doesn’t come during periods of higher taxes. Much of the U.S. economy is based on consumer spending. Tax increases of 40+ percent take more money out of people’s pockets, which means less spending by consumers. Who do you trust to spend your hard-earned money, you or the


Tax payers need to demand fiscal responsibility from taxing authorities. Down to the level of our local metro boards and town officials, we need to elect people who are going to provide government services for reasonable prices and not expand the scope of government. Big government hasn’t been a big success in Cuba. Why would anyone think it would work here?

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