Vail Daily letter: Sky’s not falling with ballot measures 60, 61 and 101 |

Vail Daily letter: Sky’s not falling with ballot measures 60, 61 and 101

Fredric Butler
Vail, CO, Colorado

Reading the ghost stories of Chris Romer, of the Vail Valley Partnership, along with a legion of dire reports from every governmental bureau or agency around, one would conclude that the sky would surely fall were Amendment 60 to be approved in this fall’s election.

That sounds kind of like Obama’s portent of disaster were the TARP bill not passed by Congress; 8 percent unemployment was the good ol’ days.

So, throwing my gullibility aside, I decided to actually read the proposed amendment before its approval. This was a novel approach considering the lack of readership by the Washington power elite in the passage of the health care bill or the stimulus package of $800 billion and change.

I shall only endeavor to paraphrase some of the most important citations of the amendment for brevity’s sake. One of which is that “Electors may vote on property taxes where they own real property.” This sounds more like a democratic precept, and is certainly palatable for the taxpaying citizen. Why should Eagle County property owners suffer the tax rates set by the likes of the Denver, Larimer or El Paso counties who demand more public services owing to their larger populations? It follows that less demand for public services within a certain taxable district results in less of a tax burden on the denizens of that area.

“All districts shall allow petitions to lower property taxes as voter-approved revenue changes.” One would think that in a constitutional and democratic society, voter approval for the levy of a tax would trump the unilateral imposition of such by a governmental agency or department. Didn’t Patrick Henry once opine that “the Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people. It is an instrument for the people to restrain the government, lest it come to dominate our lives and interests”? So it would seem that this one passage of the proposed amendment is not that unorthodox so as to cause the sky to even


“Enterprises and unelected boards shall levy no mandatory fee or tax on property.” This is another provision of Amendment 60 that would be widely accepted, one would think. Would you rather have imposed an arbitrary tax by an appointed “czar” or some other kind of unaccountable bureaucratic overseer, or would you prefer that burden to be resultant from the deliberation of your elected representative? The former is taxation without representation, and the latter is simply the workings of a republic.

Contrary to the dubious numbers espoused by the Colorado Association of Realtors or the Vail Valley Partnership regarding a substantial curtailment of public services or education (most likely on the Front Range), the financial impact would be moderate indeed and phased over a decade or more.

According to the Colorado Union of Taxpayers, state revenues grew $400 million this year to $19.6 billion. So in response to critics who say they are concerned about the lack of sufficient funds to replace any lost revenue should Amendment 60 be approved, that amount of “lost” revenue equates to only two-thirds of 1 percent of next year’s growth in state revenue and even this shortfall would disappear were spending controlled and effectively applied.

However, since 1984, total state spending has inflated to 476 percent and has never gone down. Lower taxes encourage business growth. Uncurtailed spending by governmental agencies may be the boon to a failing educational system and uncontrollable bureaucracies, but it is a bane to a prosperous economy. Besides, aren’t we all getting a little tired of the fear tactics that governments and their various corporate interests use to promote their agendas? I say just read the proposed amendment for yourself, and your gullibility will fall – not the sky.

Fredric Butler

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