Letter to the editor: Of ‘temporary’ mill levies and other fairy tales

Chris Dorton

Robert Peterson’s letter to the editor in Friday’s Summit Daily News was dead on (“Read ballot initiative language and make an informed vote“). “All of the initiatives are open ended.” With the exception of the Peak 7 paving issue, they all exempt themselves permanently from TABOR.

1A, the tax on tobacco and e-cigarettes, uses a coy disguise for what it truly is, a permanent increase in county spending revenues. As in last year’s hog trough 1A spending initiative funded by a 10-year “temporary” mill levy, it tugs at your heart strings with a plea: “Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in Colorado.” No informed person will dispute this. Then why aren’t the funds they are asking for permanently dedicated to this one issue? As Robert suggests, “carefully read the ballot initiative language.” The exact language states, “But not limited to.” In people language, we are handing them a blank check to use as they please after it gets approved in this underhanded manner. Permanently and irrevocably use the money for the stated purpose, and I’m with you.

4A is a permanent extension of a mill levy for kindergarten passed in 2007. Once again, it tugs at your heart strings until you read further. This one is especially deceptive as it talks of money to attract teachers and enhance counseling and mental health programs. The exact language states, “To be deposited in the general fund and used for educational purposes but not limited to.” This is nothing more than an outright spending increase to be used however the school district wishes. Mandate the funds solely and permanently for the stated purpose, and I’m with you.

Please read them for yourself. Any time initiative wording includes, “without increasing current tax rates,” I immediately get suspicious. When they exempt themselves permanently from TABOR, my vote is no on all the issues.

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