Saed F. Tayyara: Referendum 1A will not increase mill levy
To the editor:
Referendum 1A provides no increase in the current mill levy. Colorado Revised Statutes Section 29-1-301(1) prohibits the levying of a greater amount of property tax revenue without submitting the question of an increased levy directly to an election of qualified electors.
In 1996, the electors in Moffat County De-Bruced and approved a ballot issue (2-1 in favor) that permitted Moffat County to collect, retain and expend all revenues collected during 1995 and subsequent years from any source, not withstanding the limitations of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights amendment.
It was believed that this ballot issue allowed Moffat County to exceed the 5.5 percent limitation on property tax revenue, but the ballot question has been interpreted only as capturing the revenue limitation in the TABOR Amendment. We are seeking to correct the omission of the waiver of the 5.5 percent limitation, which would benefit taxpayers for the following reasons:
1.xisting governmental services would stay at the present level.
2. The ballot proposal would not result in an increase in the mill levy.
3. The money already has been collected as a result of increase in assessed property values. The majority is attributed to a 92.24 percent increase in oil and gas activity in 2004 and 82 percent increase in 2005 because of an increase in natural resources, oil and gas and state assessed activity.
4. Funds would be used for equipment replacement, building repairs/construction and establishing a county reserve fund.
5. Referendum 1A would end in five years.
6. If defeated, 76 percent would benefit the top 10 companies, such as the power plant, coal mines and oil and gas to name a few; 10 percent would go to investors and only 14 percent to county residents as a tax credit.
7. If Referendum 1A is approved, Moffat County would be able to retain $69,526 in revenue collected in 2004 and an estimated $693,131 in 2005. Otherwise, No. 6 would be a temporary property tax credit in 2006.
a) Property owners would be credited $19.62 per $100,000 of appraised value, and commercial property would be credited $71.51 per $100,000 of appraised value.
8. There is no threat to anyone. We just wish to share information, facts and communicate with you, the taxpayers.
9. The estimated tax credit of two years is a total of $962,469. Moffat County residents/businesses would receive $131,854 or only 14 percent. The top taxpayers, such as the power companies, coal mines corporations, oil and gas companies, non-residential landowners and landlords would benefit the most in excess of $734,944 or 86 percent.
So, as you can see, the credit to individuals is very small, or only 14 percent in comparison to oil and gas companies, which is 86 percent.
Referendum 1A asks voters to declare a five-year “timeout.” We already De-Bruced in 1996. Opponents are saying the ballot question is a “tax increase.” But 1A doesn’t raise any of Mofatt County tax rates. Instead, it allows the county to keep the revenue that existing taxes will generate as the economy grows during the next five years.
Please vote “yes” on Referendum 1A and help us keep Moffat County strong.
Saed F. Tayyara
Member of the Concerned Citizen Committee For Referendum 1A and a county commissioner.
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