Vail Daily letter: Voter-approved recession with these ballot measures |

Vail Daily letter: Voter-approved recession with these ballot measures

Louise Funk
Vail, CO, Colorado

Colorado faces three ballot initiatives this fall (Amendments 61 and 60 and Proposition 101) that would drastically reduce spending for public services, including education, water and sanitation, emergency medical providers, fire departments and town governments, even further.

Amendment 61 is a constitutional amendment that would prohibit state debt or loans of any kind and make it more difficult for local public services to repair, improve or build facilities such as roads, schools, airports and other critical infrastructures. This particular amendment passing would make Colorado the only state in the nation that is prohibited from using debt to finance capital projects.

Amendment 60 is a constitutional amendment that would cut local property tax rates for public schools’ operating expenses in half, reducing Colorado funding by $1.22 billion and requiring the state to replace lost local revenue, but providing no way to replace the revenue. It would also require publicly owned enterprises to pay property taxes and reduce local property tax rates to offset the new revenue.

Proposition 101 is a statutory provision that would cut several state and local government revenue sources, including car registration, license fees, the income tax rate and phone bill taxes. This measure would reduce income tax to 3.5 percent, car registration fees to $2 for new cars and $1 for used cars – a 98 percent cut from 2009 levels. In summary, when fully implemented, Proposition 101 would cause our state and local governments to lose more than $2 billion per year in the revenues that support key public services such as education and medical services.

According to those who are voting “No” on the terrible trio, Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 will push Colorado into a voter-approved recession.

These measures will build up and grow annually an unprecedented $4.2 billion state and local deficit, with no plan for how the deficit will be reduced or eventually eliminated.

60, 61 and 101 cut our income tax by a quarter and cut school taxes in half. They eliminate car license plate taxes that fund highways and bridges and the tax that builds the telephone and Internet backbone to rural Colorado.

The measures eliminate any practical means for constructing the most basic public infrastructure projects in the future – airports, dams, highways, gas and electric utilities, hospitals, prisons, public schools, college buildings or sanitation and flood control projects – investments our economy is dependent upon.

If 60, 61 and 101 pass, it could cost Colorado more than 73,000 jobs lost, a majority being private sector jobs in transportation, health care and construction. This is in addition to the 110,000 jobs already lost in Colorado due to the recession.

They cut school funding in half, forcing the termination of 8,000 classroom teachers statewide, pushing students into classrooms that are already overwhelmed in class size, with the severest impact at the K-3 grade levels.

The measures inundate Colorado’s small businesses and rural businesses with runaway fee increases and licensure to bridge the gap of the $4.2 billion deficit.

The measures punish homeowners by requiring payment in advance on the state’s largest infrastructure needs. Taxpayers in a single year would be required to pay the entire cost of a road or dam that will be around for decades while future users of these benefits pay nothing.

These initiatives would result in even deeper cuts to public services provided to you, Eagle County community members.

Get the facts before you vote. Please join us for an informational breakfast meeting with Rick Reiter, campaign manager for Don’t Hurt Colorado, on Monday from 8:30 to 11 a.m. at the Eagle-Vail Pavilion. Breakfast will begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by a presentation from Reiter and a question-and-answer session.

We will also meet on Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Avon Public Library to distribute informational materials and yard signs, as well as answer any questions community members may have. Both events are free and open to the public.

Please join us for one of these important informational meetings. Educate yourselves and educate the community. Our future depends on it.

Louise Funk

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