Letter to the editor: Why is housing tax extension needed 6 years before it expires?

Helen Barker

The Summit Daily News reported that our county has approved a ballot measure extending the sales tax of 0.6%, Measure 6B, for another 20 years even though the current authorization has six more years before expiring.

Our county needs to be far more transparent about this proposal. The explanation given in the article by Rob Murphy, executive director for the Summit Combined Housing Authority, was thin: jurisdictions can issue bonds and “given the emergency we’re in with regard to housing in our community right now, the jurisdictions wanted to go to the voters and request” the extension. How is the extension going to address current needs when we have six more years under the current authorization? And isn’t an extension of 20 years backpedaling on the original promise of a 10-year period for the tax?

Except for the article — and thank goodness Summit Daily reports these proposals —we’ve heard nothing about an extension. The county owes voters much more information with a detailed breakdown of how every dollar collected has been spent and more persuasive arguments of why we need the extension now. The county needs to present this material to all voters. I suspect that the reason the county is proposing it now is that we are all sensitive to the housing needs in the county and therefore the majority of voters will approve the extension. But is that the right reason to propose it now when the tax measure isn’t expiring anytime soon?

And lastly: Please read the ballot language for proposed Measure 6B at Do you really understand all of it? Have you read the part that says, “Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution or any other law?”

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