Moffat county ends TABOR |

Moffat county ends TABOR

Lee Harstad

Moffat County School District Referred Measure 3A passed with a total of 1,098 votes to 454 (70.74 percent to 29.25 percent).

This issue dealt with the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) and how the TABOR amendment has caused money to be recorded as revenue which was subject to limitations by the amendment. Before this measure passed, grants, gifts and donations had been counted as a portion of revenue.

This year, Moffat County School District has received several grant including one for $90,000 and another for $100,000. These grants push the school district above the revenue intake allowed by TABOR. In order to be able to keep these funds, the school district asked voters to vote “yes” on the measure.

If the measure would not have passed, the school district would have had to return the money it had been awarded. Now, the Moffat County School District is authorized and permitted to retain, appropriate and utilize, by retention for reserves, carryover fund balance or expenditure, the full proceeds and revenues received from all sources whatever, without limitation.

The approved measure will not raise taxes and the school district is now able to collect, retain or expend, each fiscal year, all legally collected funds and revenues.

An opponent of the measure, The Committee to Retain Voter Control of Our School’s Revenue, said the phrase in the text of the ballot stating the school district would be able to retain “the full proceeds and revenues received from all sources” includes property taxes, not only grant money. Their statement reads, “currently, as property values go up, mill levies or tax rates go down, thus limiting growth of government to the rate of inflation, unless otherwise approved by voters. A “no” vote on 3A will retain the requirement of voter approval.”

The committee also states the text of the ballot should have been reworded so as to read the school district will receive grant money, “instead of including revenue from all sources.”

Simply stated, the committee believes Referred Measure 3A is a bad idea. “If this measure passes, real voter control (given to us when TABOR passed) of school district revenues will be gone forever.”

A final statement from the committee states, “taxing entities count on the low voter turnout of off year elections to pass their programs since those with vested interest wield more power with low voter turnout.”

Regardless, voters voted in favor of measure 3A and, according to a written proposal from proponents of the measure, the school district will now be able to keep and spend the money it receives to educate the students in the school district.