Vail Valley: Don’t be fooled by ballot measures 60, 61 and 101
Take the time to understand ballot issues 60, 61, 101========Partnership bug – Romer mug=========Election Day is just over two weeks away. It’s the final stretch for Eagle County and Colorado voters to make their election decisions.In the campaign’s final weeks, don’t be fooled by Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and Amendment 61. These may seem appealing at first glance, but have severe impacts on the state budget as well as our local schools & municipalities.Here’s brief overview:• Amendment 60 would cut property taxes by 50 percent, resulting in school tax revenue being cut in half. This would result in larger classroom sizes, less teachers and an increased dependency on state funding.• Amendment 61 would prevent Colorado from borrowing money. The ballot issue also would limit the borrowing power of local governments, resulting in an inability to build schools, roads, water & sewer projects and other capital infrastructure.• Proposition 101 would cut Colorado’s state income tax rate from 4.63 percent 3.5 percent over time. It also would reduce or eliminate taxes and fees on vehicle purchases, registrations, leases and rentals during the next four years. And the proposition would do away with all state and local taxes and fees on telecommunication services except 911 fees. It would reduce vehicle registration fees to 1919 levels, resulting in Colorado Department of Transportation revenues dropping by 25 percent. Appealing? Keep in mind that every action has impacts. An independent analysis by the Colorado Legislature found that if the three measures pass, Colorado would lose $2.1 billion in revenue and would be forced to increase school spending by $1.6 billion to make up the shortfall created. That expenditure would mean that Colorado would have to spend nearly all of its general fund budget on education. The cost-savings of these impacts to our schools & government entities? Colorado voters will save only $1,360 a year if these three ballot issues pass in November. Scare tactics? Not really. These issues have broad, bipartisan opposition across both sides of the aisle. Our State Senator, Al White (R), said, “You know what the contingency for 60, 61 and 101 is? There isn’t one. Move to Wyoming. My position is hell no. No way.” Add to that State Senator Greg Brophy (R), who said, “It’s like losing your job and getting sick at the same time. I’m for limited government, but not no government.” Colorado Attorney General John Suthers (R) called these tax-cutting measures “pure anarchy.” SWeld County Commissioner Sean Conway (R) said “these measures make matters much worse in Colorado. They eliminate jobs, keep employers from moving to Colorado and putting people to work and push Colorado deeper in recession.”The Denver Post, in an editorial against these issues, summed it up with the understanding that 60, 61 and 101 “might be tempting for some voters. But they would be devastating for Colorado.” The Aurora Sentinel says, “Proposition 101 isn’t just a bad bill, it’s an insidious leap toward catastrophe disguised as economic aid for taxpayers.”Join more than 400 entities from around the state in opposing these measures by voting no. Those opposed include the Vail Town Council, Avon Town Council, Minturn Town Council, Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority, Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees, Colorado Ski Country USA, Colorado Restaurant Association, Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association and Colorado Association of Realtors. Don’t be fooled. Vote no on 60, 61 & 101.Chris Romer is executive director of the Vail Valley Partnership.