Taylor pushes C and D in Craig

While the fight over referendums C and D heats up statewide, State Sen. Jack Taylor is traveling across Northwest Colorado promoting the spending measures.

On Thursday, Taylor, R-Steamboat Springs, was in Craig discussing C and D with the Moffat County Republican Women at the Holiday Inn.

If Referendum C passes, lawmakers would keep an estimated $3.7 billion in tax revenues during the next five years. The money otherwise would be returned to taxpayers under the Taxpayers Bill of Rights.

Referendum C's companion measure, Referendum D, is a bond for capital investments. The bond would be paid off in part with 10 percent of the money from Referendum C and would be used for capital construction projects on roads and schools.

If Referendum C fails, so does D, but C can pass without D.

Taylor said Thursday that he has been a supporter of C and D since their inception because the measures will allow the state's budget to rebound from what he says have been a difficult few years.

Although the state's overall budget has grown in recent years, Taylor said TABOR restrictions have forced the state to cut some vital programs, including higher education and tax breaks for senior citizens.

If the referendums fail, Taylor said the state will have to cut $400 million while giving $490 million back to the taxpayers.

"It just doesn't make sense to me," he said.

Taylor said he is particularly concerned that if C and D fail, the state will raid the severance tax fund to balance the budget. Energy companies pay a severance tax to the state that is sent to counties through the Department of Local Affairs. The money is supposed to help pay for the effects of energy development on local economies.

DOLA has given Moffat County entities more than $10 million in grants from its Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Fund since 1995.

"I'm very concerned that if C does not pass ... that money is going to be grabbed for other things," he said.

Taylor said if other legislators try to use severance tax dollars for other projects, he will fight it, but he doubts he will be able to stop them.

"I will get out voted," he said.

Local ballot issues also were discussed at Thursday's meeting.

Moffat County Assessor Suz----anne Brinks discussed Ref--eren--dum 1A with the group.

Referendum 1A would allow the county to keep $1.2 million over the next two years that would otherwise be given back to taxpayers under a law from 1913.

Michael Toothaker of Hori--zons Specialized Services discussed Referendum 1B, which asks Moffat County voters for a mill levy to benefit people with mental disabilities.

Corrie Scott, chairwoman of the Moffat County Republican Women said the group does not have an official position on any referendums. She said the group probably will not endorse or oppose any of the measures.

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