This year’s warm, fuzzy feel-good tax |

This year’s warm, fuzzy feel-good tax

Fine, then you have my permission to pay for it.

“If you do not own property, you get to help preserve open space and have the people who benefit from real estate appreciation pay for it.”

Well, that sounds nice and pleasantly socialistic. Make the rich pay; they can afford it. How original.

“How could anyone who loves and respects open space be against this?”

Easy. I love and respect open space as much as the next guy, but it’s not what I pay taxes for.

I pay taxes for Police, Fire, Roads and Schools, and I don’t even complain about them, much. It is part of my national duty as an American to pay the taxes that support my government, which in turn supports me with protection, assistance, transportation and education.

Ah, if life were only that simple.

I do, however, have a word or two to say about the taxes that I am forced to pay and do not agree with.

Let’s say, oh, wait a sec, it will come to me. … How about taxes used to purchase art? Yeah, that sounds like a good random choice.

I love art, at least some of it anyway. I have never understood a piece of art hanging on a wall that looks like my 3-year-old became upset with a partially opened can of Spaghetti-O’s and then having some tweed-wearing twit call it “important.” Nor do I care for “significant” sculpture with “meaning” that resembles a chunk of the Space Lab that apparently fell from orbit and landed discriminately in a patch of concrete next to a modern office building.

However, I do appreciate the fact that the beauty of art lies in the eye of the beholder and happen to think that the purchase of art should lie in the wallet of the beholder also, but only if they so choose.

And I have difficulty when my taxes are used to buy it.

Don’t ever expect me to smile and say, “Have a nice ski day,” when local government takes my hard-earned money in the form of taxes and arbitrarily uses some of it to purchase a metal horsey that may or may not be representative of my heritage.

I’ll pay the tax, because it is the law to do so, but I will gripe and moan as I sign the check and then continue griping and moaning as I put the stamp on the envelope and then mutter four-letter words under my breath as it slides with irony down the government-funded postal chute.

Eagle County Open Space Referendum 1H is yet another in a long line of attempts by well-intentioned folks to use tax dollars for funding personal agendas (men wearing three-piece suits in D.C. call it lobbying).

The individuals responsible for the quotes you just read a minute ago are each benevolent with their ideals, yet so wrapped up in the battle for personal causes they can’t see I-70 because of all the concrete.

They do mean well, of course, and deserve nothing but praise and respect for having the courage to stand and fight for something they believe in.

It is not the open space, or lack thereof, that bothers me, but the principle of the matter concerning tax dollars. And who in the world would admit they are against open space in the first place, except maybe a developer with overdue bills in one hand and building plans in another?

Arguing the specifics accomplishes little, as that is not my issue, although I do tire of being blasted with facts such as “the tax rate is only $14 per $100,000 of market value and can be broken down to a mere 6/millionth of a penny for every waking second for the average adult with a million dollar home (sleeping eight hours per night) to enjoy the wonderful open space!”

Even pennies add up, eventually.

I suggest you vote against Referendum 1H because I believe it is an improper use of tax dollars, plain and simple.

Enacting and enforcing land regulations through elected officials that were elected to deal with such matters in the first place is a more efficient route to follow, as well as open space conservation through land trusts and the use of incentives for private landowners.

We already pay more than enough in taxes that have absolutely nothing to do with Police, Fire, Roads or Schools. The private sector is responsible for everything else.

But then again, I don’t like my tax dollars being used for statues or fancy-smancy lunches at Picasso’s either, and you see how much good my griping and moaning has done for those two.

Richard Carnes of Edwards can be reached at

Support Local Journalism