Russ Garrity: Vote 'yes' on 2A, 2B

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This Nov. 4, please vote "yes" on ballot issues 2A and 2B to renew the half-cent sales tax for education.

Referendum 2A is not a new tax. It simply re-authorizes a tax that voters approved in 1993. Since its inception, the half-cent sales tax has dramatically improved the Steamboat Springs School District. About 50 to 70 percent of this revenue comes from tourists to our valley, and the funds have been used very effectively by the nonprofit Steamboat Springs Education Fund Board.

The Fund Board has 11 volunteer members that have used the money to reduce classroom sizes and fund critical school curricula such as advanced science, gifted and talented programs, youth orchestra, English as a Second Language, and many others. In addition, these funds have vastly improved the school computer and technology systems. The tax only represents 5 cents on a $10 purchase, and this is a very small burden compared to the enormous benefits provided to our students.

Referendum 2B would allow the Fund Board to consider sharing a portion of future money with other school districts in Routt County. Since 1993, the residents of South Routt (RE-3 school district) and Hayden (RE-1) have paid the half-cent sales tax whenever their residents have supported grocery stores, restaurants, lumber yards, hotels and other businesses in Steamboat Springs.

Passing 2B will allow the Fund Board to consider supporting these schools when they reallocate those funds back to the community. There is no requirement that the Fund Board direct any funds to any specific schools. It just allows the RE-1 and RE-3 districts to make requests along with the Steamboat Springs School District. Because the workers in South Routt and Hayden are critical to our tourist-driven economy (and they pay the tax), considering sales tax revenue expenditures for RE-1 and RE-3 is only fair.

Please vote "yes" on 2A and 2B for the good of our entire community.

Russ Garrity

Oak Creek

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