Oxley: Measures bad for Craig

To the editor:

The Craig Chamber of Commerce board of directors is urging residents to vote against Amendments 60 and 61, and Proposition 101. These ballot questions combine to make Colorado a bad place to live and do business.

Once these measures are fully implemented, the state will lose about $2.1 billion in revenue each year and will have to increase K-12 education funding by $1.6 billion annually in today’s dollars.

This would commit nearly all the state’s general fund budget to paying for the constitutional and statutory requirements of K-12 education, which means there will be no funding for health and human services, prisons, courts, and certainly no additional investment in infrastructure such as roads.

City and county budgets will be affected, as well, and when cuts are made, they begin with the amenities that make a community desirable: parks and recreation programs, snow plowing, high levels of police protection, recycling programs, and contributions to community health and human service organizations.

With the passage of 60, 61 and 101, a homeowner earning $55,000 per year with a $295,000 home will save approximately $1,360 annually in taxes, which sounds great on the surface, but would result in reduced local and state services and increased fees.

These measures will end up costing residents more than they save.

Amendment 60 would reduce school district property taxes by an estimated $1.5 billion each year once it is fully implemented, which the state is required to backfill.

Property taxpayers will see savings of about 23 percent, which amounts to a decrease in property taxes of $376 per year for a $295,000 home.

Cities and towns, counties, and special districts will also lose an indeterminate amount of property tax revenue.

Proposition 101 is expected to reduce state revenue by $1.9 billion annually once it is fully implemented. This results from decreases in income and sales taxes, vehicle registration fees, and telecommunications fees.

Local governments will lose about $1 billion in revenue from specific ownership taxes and local sales taxes once the measure is fully implemented.

Amendment 61 prohibits the state from incurring new debt, imposes new limits on the amount of local government debt, and requires tax rates to be reduced when debt is repaid.

If the repayment of existing debt requires a reduction in tax rates, the amendment will result in a reduction in state tax revenue of $200 million and local tax revenue of $940 million once it is

fully implemented.

In addition, an estimated 46 out of 178 school districts will exceed or equal the new debt limits and be unable to borrow money to build public school facilities until either debt is repaid or assessed values grow.

These school districts represent about 75 percent of the students in the state.

These measures are bad for local communities and bad for Colorado. The results will affect Colorado’s ability to be competitive in drawing new businesses and investment in a time when job growth is imperative.

Christina Oxley

Executive director, Craig Chamber of Commerce

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