Vail Daily column: Housing tax a blank check
September 29, 2016
Everyone should vote no on the Housing Tax 1A. The ballot language was purposely written open-ended to allow the commissioners to spend your hard-earned money on practically anything as long as it has the word "housing" in it. All it says is, "to be used for housing purposes such as:" and "related housing programs and services." This is a huge blank check with no guarantee of public input or involvement. Millions of your dollars will be viewed as free money that absolutely has to be spent, regardless of how good or bad the deal is. The commissioners can promise you anything they want, but they only have to comply with the vaguely written ballot language.
Here are just a few questions to ask the county with the correct answers supplied.
1. Can you assure us that the money will be spent equally throughout the county? Will the Roaring Fork Valley get its fair share? No.
2. Can you guarantee us that the projects and spending will be sound financial investments? No.
3. Can you guarantee that the public will always be able to give the final yes or no decision to specific spending? No.
4. Can you guarantee that Eagle County will hold itself to the same development standards as a private developer? No.
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Eagle County has a bad track record of spending money wisely on housing development. If they don't build new housing, they will have to buy homes or otherwise subsidize currently free market homes. This will only make the problem worse as non-deed restricted homes will be in greater demand with less supply.
What do you say to the hard working people that scrimped and saved to buy their homes without government assistance? What are the employers doing to help remedy this issue?
Why do politicians think that issues can be resolved by throwing your money at them? Eagle County needs to spend more time thinking creatively and less time creating ballot issues to take money out of your pockets.
Vote no on this big blank check known as the housing tax 1A. There are other, better solutions if they will just look hard enough. I can attest to it.
Tom Stone is a former Eagle County commissioner.
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