Jim Gill: Taylor supported school district

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Speaking as president of the Steamboat Springs Education Fund and having served in this capacity almost continuously since its creation in 1993, it would be inappropriate for me to endorse Jack Taylor or Jay Fetcher for the District 8 Senate seat. However, I feel compelled to provide some balance and some historical perspective regarding Taylor's support for our local school district that was somehow "missing" from Mike Johnson's recent editorial.

During the most recent session of the Colorado Legislature, there was a serious challenge brought by a southern Colorado representative regarding the legality of the city of Steamboat Springs half-cent sales tax funding mechanism for our local schools. This funding source has provided in excess of $14 million of funds and value to the Steamboat Springs School District since 1993. In the current school year alone, this amount should approach $1.7 million.

Had this legal challenge survived, we would have been prevented from providing any additional funding to our school district from this tax in the future, a funding source that currently equals almost 10.6 percent of the annual budget of the district. This is a substantive funding source for our schools, and education in Steamboat would be "different" without the funds from the half-cent sales tax.

As soon as we became aware of this serious issue and contacted Taylor and our House District 57 Rep. Al White from Winter Park, they responded almost instantly to our concerns. They met with us on numerous occasions to review the challenge and to prepare a strategy to oppose this effort. Relying on their combined expertise and working together, we created an action plan to defend and continue our sales tax support for our local schools. With their knowledge of the "inner workings" of the legislative process, Taylor and White successfully defeated this challenge.

Though any legislative challenge to our sales tax seems to be in remission at the moment, Taylor and White have committed to monitor any future challenge and respond as appropriate to protect our half-cent sales tax funding.

This is simply additional perspective on Johnson's editorial that didn't quite provide the whole story.

Jim Gill

President, Steamboat Springs Education Fund

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