Our View: Vote ‘no’ on Amendments 60 and 61, Proposition 101

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Editorial Board, August through December 2010

  • Scott Stanford, general manager
  • Brent Boyer, editor
  • Blythe Terrell, city editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • Rich Lowe, community representative
  • Sue Birch, community representative

Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@steamboatpilot.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.

— Some 3,000 local children will start school this week or next in Routt County. The enthusiasm of the returning students might mask the mounting fiscal crisis for our public schools, but it shouldn’t.

No school or school district in Routt Coun­ty is immune to the economic recession, and our public schools have been — and will continue to be ­— seriously affected by statewide K-12 funding cuts.

Everyone is re-examining their spending. The South Routt and Hayden districts will ask voters for mill levy overrides in the fall to make up hundreds of thousands in lost revenue. Both districts and Steamboat Springs have made cuts, and all three expect to have to make more cuts in coming years.

It’s in this climate that Colorado voters will consider proposed Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101. These proposals, citizen-led initiatives aimed at reducing government spending and reducing taxes, are masquerading as measures that will benefit taxpayers.

They won’t.

The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association took the unusual step this summer of releasing a statement of position about the three proposals. We applaud that step and applaud local school districts and municipalities that have been raising awareness and providing education about the proposals for months.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution opposing the measures this week, and we’re glad they did so. It’s impossible to overestimate the negative impact these measures would have on our quality of life as Coloradans.

According to the Chamber’s statement, Proposition 101 will reduce the state income tax rate and eliminate much of the funding for transportation by drastically cutting vehicle ownership fees and taxes, among other impacts.

That sounds great to taxpayers, until you consider that it would cut Routt County’s annual revenues by about $5.7 million and city of Steamboat revenues by $954,000, according to the Chamber’s statement.

As residents, we expect our community to provide needed services and maintain roads. Proposition 101 would severely limit local municipalities’ abilities to do that.

Amendment 60 would shatter local school funding.

It would impose stricter limits on property taxes, would repeal property tax collection limits previously approved by local voters, require that property tax increases expire after 10 years, allow taxpayers to petition for property tax decreases during every election and force school districts to cut their mill levies in half by 2020. That would undo voter-approved tax contributions to programs such as Horizons and Routt County museums.

Keep in mind that voters already have approved these dedicated taxes.

We think communities should be able to tax themselves for programs they consider important, and this amendment would undo important community funding.

In addition, the Chamber paper notes, it would cost Steamboat schools nearly $1.5 million in mill levy overrides.

Amendment 61 prohibits government — including school districts — from being able to incur debt without voter approval. On top of that, it limits voter-approved borrowing to a 10-year repayment period.

Could you pay back a mortgage in 10 years?

Imagine the city trying to pay off a community center, a police station or any major capital project in a decade.

In April, South Routt Superinten­dent Scott Mader considered what would happen if the district were unable to borrow money. “It would bring us to our knees,” he said. “We couldn’t operate.”

The impacts already are starting to trickle down.

As it awaits the outcome of the Amendment 61 vote, the Colorado State Treasurer’s Of­­fice has suspended the interest-free loan program, which allows the South Routt and Hayden districts to pay the bills until property taxes are remitted in spring.

Last week, Mader asked the Steam­boat Springs Education Fund Board if it could accelerate its payment of the about $115,000 the board allocated to the school district for the upcoming academic year. Because of the suspension of the interest-free loan program, he said, the South Routt district soon could be facing a “cash-flow issue.”

“We’ll be short of cash in October,” Mader told the board.

If Amendment 61 is approved, the interest-free loan program will be dead, and local districts will have to scramble to pay the bills.

We cannot allow this to happen.

Ballots for the November election will start arriving in October. In May, this Editorial Board warned voters to beware and scrutinize the measures. Now, we’re taking it a step further. The costs of these “anti-tax” measures are astronomical. They would diminish services and likely increase other costs for us, such as utility bills. On top of that, our schools and the quality of our children’s education could take a nosedive.

Vote “no” on Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101.

Comments

Brian Kotowski 3 years, 8 months ago

I'll be checking the "yes" boxes as soon as my ballots arrive.

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sledneck 3 years, 8 months ago

I'll be voting yes.

It seems to me that the Steamboat "pile-it" position is: 1.State income taxes and vehicle fees should continue to rise. 2.Property taxes should continue to rise and taxpayers have no right for redress. 3. School districts and municipalities should be allowed to continue to plunge our posterity into un-manageable debt. SHAMEFUL!

You people act as if you're so concerned about "the children" it's always "for the children". What you're doing is destroying their future to maintain your OWN comfort here and now. Absolutely shameful.

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sledneck 3 years, 8 months ago

"imagine having to pay off a community center in 10 years..." Booo- Hooo You have got to be kidding. It used to be un-imaginable NOT to pay as you go. Now you lunatics are saying it's unimaginable to actually PAY for stuff before buying more stuff. You're quite mad, you know!!

I got a better idea...Imagine not building the darn thing at all! Imagine that!

What business is it of the city to build community centers or get taxpayers into debacles like Iron Horse? Had it stayed out of that superflous nonsense it would already HAVE the $$$$$ for things actually WITHIN the domain of government.

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flusteredal 3 years, 8 months ago

Without hesitation, I will vote NO! I have children in the school system and friends and family employed by the school district, city and the county. All will be affected if this passes. Please think this through!

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sledneck 3 years, 8 months ago

And therein lies the dilema. The "no" voters kneejerk reasons for supporting continued fiscal insanity are their proudly admitted connections to the public coffers.

"...No democracy can survive as a permanent form of government... it survives only until the people discover that they can vote for THEMSELVES largesse from the public coffers... after that it always collapses due to loose fiscal pilicy... ALWAYS followed by a dictatorship." (apologies...)

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Matthew Stoddard 3 years, 8 months ago

Sledneck- when times are tough for you, do you quit your job so as not to collect income to pay bills?

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

There is the potential for good government reform on these topics, but these amendments do not do that. These amendments are about massive tax cuts without considering the resulting spending cuts.

It is simply ridiculous to massively cut school district property taxes with the promise that the state will make up the difference, especially when another amendment greatly cuts state revenues.

It is simply ridiculous to force a rapid repayment of existing debt. So fire districts get rid of firemen to pay down their existing debt used to build firehouses? That is stupid. Some things last a long time and are needed now, not when the money is saved up. Firehouses are needed when the area has additional development and it makes no sense to limit the debt to 10 years on something that will clearly last more than 10 years.

If these amendments were simply giving the voters more power by requiring all debt be approved by voters, requiring tax overrides have limited durations so voters have to approve them again, and treating fees more like taxes so fees increases need voter approvals then they might make sense. But these amendments do not do that and are instead simply written to destroy government's ability to function.

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James Earley, MCSE 3 years, 8 months ago

Go ahead and vote yes. But don't complain when schools are forced to adopt a new business model, leveraging resources to generate revenue, and competing with local business's in the process.

School wood shops could compete with local cabinet makers and give the consumer a much better price. Same with auto repair. Same with computer repair. Same with fitness centers - etc. etc.

We'll never compete in the new global marketplace without an educated workforce. Pay now or pay later.

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sledneck 3 years, 8 months ago

It's not my job to educate the labor force. It's especially not my job to provide them a particular skill or trade. If I am to do so I expect a return, like the surf owed to his lord. A persons education is THEIR OWN responsibility. But responsibility being what it is theese days I forgive those who are strangers to that particular concept.

When times were tough for me (and make no mistake they were once very tough) I worked 100 hrs/ week. I took any job offered at any price. I would have committed suicide if I didn't have a job in 9 days much less 99 weeks.

I am not arguing that this PARTICULAR branch of proposed cuts is the most expediant. I am arguing the old addage "Any port in a storm". This is what is proposed and I favor it till such time it is overtaken by one of greater value.

The government, in case you missed the last 2 decades Mr. Wedel, needs more than anything, to have its "ability to function" destroyed. Government has "functioned" us right into the third world poor-house. Government, as I define it currently a tyranny of the masses, has usurped its power to tax, to spend, to borrow, to regulate, to rule and to permit from the rightful owners, the people, individually. It should be reduced broadly by 60% and specifically destroyed in 25% of its "function". If I had a car that "functioned" as government I would be walking. Had I a gun that "functioned" as government I would have little more than an overpriced metal pipe.

"Put the government in charge of the Sahara desert and in 2 years there would be a shortage of sand".

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JLM 3 years, 8 months ago

Apparently when the electorate exercises its initiative to RAISE taxes, that is OK but when the same electorate exercises the same initiative to LOWER taxes, that is not OK.

Have I got that right?

This should be a huge wake up call for the entitlement segment of our society. What goes up, CAN come down.

This is an indictment --- a rightful indictment, in my view --- of the notion that the electorate cannot influence its own tax burden.

I encourage all to wrest control of their own personal tax burden from those who are insensitive to the wishes of the electorate.

It's called DEMOCRACY, and that's a good thang!

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Jon Quinn 3 years, 8 months ago

There are few who would disagree that the federal government has horribly mismanaged our tax dollars for the last decade. People are fed up with the mess and you can count me among them. Douglas Bruce is no fool. These initiatives are perfectly timed to take advantage of the anger and the frustration we are feeling towards federal government. Do we all want lower taxes, lower fees, and less federal debt... yes! But I believe that crippling local governments and school districts is hardly the right means towards that end. It should be the right of every LOCAL community to determine what taxes or fees are approriate. It should be the right of the LOCAL taxpayers to decide whether or not to support building a new school, firehouse, or library. Make no mistake, these measures take control away from local communities and local taxpayers. If you believe that a strong education system benefits our local community and our economy, if you believe that communites which invest in their children are better places to live than those which do not, and if you believe that you know better what is important for our community than somebody who lives in Denver because YOU LIVE HERE, then you should vote NO on 60, 61, and 101.

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Cooke 3 years, 8 months ago

Does anyone else think it is really telling that Sledneck wants to destroy the ability to educate our children while citing "surfs" and lords? SURFS?!? What an ignorant and shortsighted moron. What a great way to demonstrate that we need to keep funding our schools! "A persons education is THEIR OWN responsibility." Can anyone find the funny in this? Can anyone who received a public education find the irony in this guy's argument? Does anyone else see that his proselytizing of his hard life working lots of jobs has NO bearing whatsoever on amendments that would bankrupt public education? Who cares that you worked a 100 hour week -- that doesn't mean we shouldn't educate our children!

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Matthew Stoddard 3 years, 8 months ago

LOL @ sledneck! Lord and serfs? And yes- the word I believe you are looking for is "serf," not "surf" unless you're looking for waves. Well, that's certainly taking more than a baby-step back away from democracy and our Constitution.

What this does mean is sledneck evidently seems to want slavery back, though. Anyone look up the meaning of serf lately?

JLM- These propositions weren't made locally. The decision to tax ourselves for our school's benefit was. Is it ok for outsiders to stick their noses into local issues only if you agree with them? It's not the same electorate, as you said. (And another Conextremist turning softy by talking about "sensitivity." WTF?? When did Conextremists become so Liberal-sounding?? Which talking-head put that memo out for everyone to start using that term?)

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

I'd argue that the debt policy as stated in the initiative is simply bad policy. Debt for major infrastructure project (such as a water plant) is the logical way to pay for it. Some governments have misused debt (such as SB buying Iron Horse and financing it for $1M more than purchase price and using the $1M to make debt payments so the project doesn't affect the City general fund until the $1M runs out). But this initiative does little to stop that, but does a lot to stop the smart use of debt to finance infrastructure projects. And it is a horrible idea to make governments hurry up and pay off existing debt because it will wreck budgets that are fine now and will be fine again when the debt is paid off, but are facing 10 years of deep cuts in services while paying off the debt. It'd be like telling everyone with a 30 year mortgage that suddenly they have a 10 year mortgage and now their monthly payment has more than doubled.

The school property tax initiative is simply a lie because we cannot cut deeply local property taxes for the schools and then expect that State can make up the difference.

I think that if any of these actually pass then we will quickly see the consequences and vote on a new set of amendments to basically repeal these. Note that locally we have little problems passing additional taxes for schools so there is no consensus that the schools have way too much money.

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sledneck 3 years, 8 months ago

Classic obfuscation from the would-be intelligentcia. I NEVER said I want to destroy your ability to educate your children. I said I want to destroy your ability to COMPLE ME to educate your children. Heck of a difference there Einstein. As any leftist who carries no ammunition to a battle of wits all you can do is call me ignorant and moron instead of debating the content of my argument. The question is not whether anyone with a public education can find irony but whether they can find New Hampshire on a map! You're right cooke, why should you give a tinkers dam who works hard and for what. As long as you and yours get the free ride. you will call me whatever it takes.

kielbasa, I stand corrected on the spelling. Get in a hurry and... It is right out of the playbook to suggest that I want slavery back. The reality is that serfs, as I understand it (and yes they were basically slaves) paid 1/3 (one third) to their lords. Considering todays taxes I can only say... "Oh to be a serf again". As far as the constitution is concerned, the constitution does not set up a democracy but a representative republic. A lynch mob is a democracy. I guess if you favor democracy you must favor lynching. (see how stupid that sounds) Kind of like accusing me of favoring slavery. I don't FAVOR slavery, I ARE one!

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 8 months ago

Hmm, if I was running the NO on 60, 61 and 101 campaign then I would put Sledneck's above post in my advertising. It is honest in wanting to destroy public education in Colorado. It also suggests something about the educational levels of those that want to destroy public education.

Seriously, if you enjoy posting your ideas then you would be well served to take a writing course at CMC. I doubt a class would affect your opinions, but it could have a beneficial effect upon your writing skills.

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sledneck 3 years, 8 months ago

Yep, thats what I thought. You have no intellectual argument so you mis-represent (means lie) that I propose destroying education when I said nothing of the sort. You assasinate my intellect (because you know no other defense) rather than debate the issue which is: 1. You have no right to an infinite amount of my tax dollars. 2. Your kids have no right to confiscate my hard-earned $$$ for their education (which it is arguable that they are even receiving) and 3. The state has no right to put a gun to my head on your behalf and collect from me that which it would rightfully be illegal for you to collect individually. and 4. The government, which you defend at every turn, has a record of failure which entitles it to no more chances, no more do-overs, no farther patience from the electorate(means people).

If you care to debate those issues fine. If, on the other hand, you are intellectually void of rational debate then, by all means just keep calling me names as you whistle past the graveyard.

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John Fielding 3 years, 8 months ago

. There are few who would argue against universal, free, mandatory education of the children of this Nation, with the cost being distributed across the entire population based on property owned or rented.

There are many who would agree that this reasonable system has become abused and dysfunctional, and there are many who are working very hard at implementing solutions.

In a very real sense these measures are intended to promote solutions to those problems. If the school districts (or other government agencies) have to repeatedly ask for money and demonstrate the need for and wise use of it we will probably be better off.

But if these measures prohibit us from imposing taxes on ourselves to fund our choices they are wrong. And to argue that one who has little use for the roads or the schools need not pay a share of their cost is invalid, it is the nature of living in a society.

.

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bubba 3 years, 8 months ago

While I have always loved surf music, I think Jon Quinn is the only person here who has even touched on the real issue these amendments represent. These are amendments to the state constitution that limit the ability of counties, municipalities and metro districts to determine when, how and why to spend money. While I am opposed to many expenditures our local government has made and would vote to limit the debt that the City of Steamboat can incur if it were on a Steamboat Ballot, I do not think the citizens of Denver should tell Steamboat how we can spend money, nor do I want the ability to tell some other Municipality how to spend their money - I will vote against my tax dollars being used for a rec center every time, but I don't care if the good people of Vail or Sterling want to spend theirs on the same.

Once upon a time, a political party was founded on the idea that self determination was paramount, and that individual rights trumped all. Those individuals could create municipal and state governments to protect their common interests. Those states could even join together in a republic if they wanted to. This republic was called the United States of America, and the party that based it's core ideology on the idea that the smallest units of government (local government and of course the family) should be the most powerful was called - get this - the Republican Party. As the decades and centuries wore on, this party of self-determination somehow decided that forcing lower taxes on people who didn't want or care about that was more important than self governance. These silly anti-tax amendments limit the rights of individuals to determine when and how to spend their money, which is contrary to the founding principles of this nation and the republican party, of which I assume most supporters of these amendments are members.

As a general rule of thumb, I will vote against any constitutional amendment that does anything other than expand or more clearly define the rights of individuals. Constitutions are meant to protect our rights, not force one person (or region)'s ideology on another. If you are against new taxes and excessive local debt (as I am) there are plenty of ways to express that without amending the constitution of our state.

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Kristopher Hammond 3 years, 7 months ago

SLED: Should the state have the right to put a gun to our heads and force all of us NOT to raise money for public education? What if we want better schools/roads/bridges/law enforcement/fire protection/etc? Shouldn't we have the right to vote to tax ourselves for these things? These amendments assume that there are some things local voters shouldn't be allowed to vote on. You seem like the kind of person who values individual rights, but you are advocating laws that restrict the right of individuals to vote on something.

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sledneck 3 years, 7 months ago

I do not advocate limiting the right if individuals to decide how to spend their money. My point is that MY money is not THEIR money.

Government on a local level being far more desirable than govt. on a federal level( and it certainly is) does not mean all local government is right. One of my biggest grievances is that, if we want education put at the pinnacle of any debate when we are out of money why is is not funded ahead of superfluous nonsense like community centers and Iron Horse Inns and dog parks, etc,etc,etc,etc,etc,etc? Local government is behaving like a drunk father, spending all the money at the bar then comming home asking the wife to dip into the kids college fund for basic necessities such as roof repair. He says "but honey you gotta give... IT'S FOR THE CHILDREN". No! the money he spent at the bar was "for the children" and he didn't give a damn about them when he was spending it!

We have the right to raise money for whatever cause we deem worthy. As a libertarian I do not and will not oppose that right. However, that is NOT what you describe. Your argument supposes that all monies are community owned. There is a big difference between you (the individual or as a voluntary group) asking people for financial aid and then accepting their choice to give or not vs. putting yourselves together as a mob and expecting, as that group, what you've no right to individually... OPM(other peoples money). Even if these ammendments pass you still have a right to get up every morning and go out to raise money for whatever cause you see fit. They will not forbid you from donating as much money as you wish to the local school of your choice. Every like-minded one of you can do as much of that as you wish.

What if, instead of better schools, I form a group that wants lolly-pops. If the group grows to 51% of the community should it have a right to compel you to fund its lolly-pop craving?

You people should stop and ask yourselves what part of taxing others for YOUR community's benifit do you ever oppose. I dare say some in YOUR community who pay way more in taxes want an end to the taxes. They send their kids to private schools so as to remove the burden from YOUR schools. They purchase private property so as not to need use of YOUR parks. When do those people get some relief from YOUR community's appetite for... wait for it... THEIR money?

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Cooke 3 years, 7 months ago

Sled -- you can't "COMPLE" me into an argument with you. It's pointless.

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John Fielding 3 years, 7 months ago

.

Sled, How do we determine which things are necessary and proper for government to administer and the majority of voters to decide that all will pay for?

A few things might get near unanimity, law enforcement probably, military defense less likely, public education maybe over 90%, road maintenance likewise.After that support goes down sharply, but still as majority of those voting will support parks and libraries and community centers.

I agree it is clear that government must spend less and get better value for our money. Contracting services through private firms is one route for many but not all needs.

I support amendments that limit the powers of government but not the rights of the People. Lets agree on a short list of things we all must support then enable advocacy associations for rec centers, libraries, and the like to raise funds without taxation or overregulation to accomplish these worthy ends. And let us prohibit the use of government for any role that is not clearly and specifically allowed by the constitution.

“When once a republic is corrupted, there is no possibility of remedying any of the growing evils but by removing the corruption and restoring its lost principles; every other correction is either useless or a new evil.” - Thomas Jefferson

We may have to break it to fix it.

.

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cindy constantine 3 years, 7 months ago

Well said, John. While not perfect, I still consider it a privilege to live in the good ole USA and with it comes some price. Sled, time for you to move to a polar region--thinking the North or the South, your choice, where the "tax man" will have no interest in chasing you for the taxes you don't want to pay.

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sledneck 3 years, 7 months ago

John, You are barking up the right tree. We have to get our proirities ordered again in government. Of course we would all agree on police, etc in declining order. The simple way to do it is to go down the list till we are out of money (NOT OUT OF CREDIT) and when there is no more cash STOP SPENDING. Of course someones favorites will go unfunded. "If you want an omlet you gotta break a few eggs".

Cooke, You have proven the superior intellect. That I mis-spell words clearly means I have no legitimate right to think as I do. Ya got me!

Cindy, The problem with moving to the north pole is it's too cold. I think I'll wait till global warming has a chance to kick in a bit more.

I have contemplated the extreme polarization gripping the country. Why don't we devide the country right down the Mississippi (hope I spelled that o.k.) and flip a coin for sides. Then all the leftists can go to their side and the lunatics like me can go to the other. We will keep our guns and you can have trees and solar powered 1 pint per flush toilets, etc. Then everyone will be so like-minded that everything will work fine.

But then I realized what would happen. Since most of the producers would gravitate to the lunatic right side and since most of the leftists pay far less in taxes (look those FACTS up if you wish) your side would actually have LESS funding than you have now. The easily predictable result is that we could not build a wall tall enough or put enough machine guns on top of it to keep leftists off our side.

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Matthew Stoddard 3 years, 7 months ago

Since the Right won't pay any taxes, what makes you think that side will fare better? (By living communally and sharing for the benefit of the whole?? LOL!)

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sledneck 3 years, 7 months ago

It's really not a question of right or left in that experiment. Honestly it would be more a question of taxes getting paid by PRODUCERS. Producers tend to be business owners, innovators, people that make things work. Those tend to be (like it or not) more conservative or libertarian and would populate that side accordingly. They would ensure that their side had electricity, running water, phones, heated homes, fuel, etc. Just as they do now for everybody.

Apparently the other side, if it had its way, would switch to bio- fuel leaving no water for food-crop irrigation or drinking and they would not use fertailzer which, combined, would lead to food shortages. They would switch to wind and solar power which would mean no electricity on cloudy days and at night. They would stop production of all vehicles weighing over 100 lbs so there would be no trucks to move goods for consumers. And speaking of consumers they would likely outlaw consumption since that seems to be the burr under their collective saddle.

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housepoor 3 years, 7 months ago

what is the Routt County Republicans postion on these amendments?

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Troutguy 3 years, 7 months ago

Not sure if I'd really want to be on the side of the PRODUCERS. Sure, you'd have some water, but it probably wouldn't be potable because of the fracking liquids that leached into the PRODUCERS water supply because there's no EPA to regulate these kinds of things. As for electricity, that wouldn't last too long, because the PRODUCERS don't like to pay taxes, so the power lines and other infastructure would fall apart because there isn't any money for upkeep. Phones? Sure you'll have one. From the Mega-Conglomerate phone company. The only one on that side, since it bought up every other phone company in sight. Monopolies are a good thing in the land of the PRODUCERS. What is PRODUCER Prez Palin goin to do about it. Cut taxes of course. That always fixes everything, Right?

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sledneck 3 years, 7 months ago

The producers would make water filters as they do now. Or they would buy them from others with the money they were making from nat. gas production and mining! And they would be making a lot more $$$ cause there would be no EPA to screw with proffits!

Their taxes would not need to pay for power lines cause the government would not be in the electrical business. Their electric bill would pay for the power lines.

Suddenly the left claims interest in our infrastructure? Thats big news! Fourty years you guys have protested power plants (coal, nuclear), pipelines, oilfields, dams, bridges, mines, heavy equipment exhaust, trains, trucks, barges, tankers, power lines, etc.! Now all of a sudden your the "go-to" guys for infrastructure? Who the heck are you trying to kid? The left even recently managed to kill a SOLAR POWER plant in the Nevada desert! PLEASE. You guys wouldn't know infrastructure maintainance if it smacked you in the mouth!

The lie you don't want to give up is when you suggest that producers won't pay taxes (I know you said "don't like to" but you're suggesting they don't). The FACT is, as you well know... YOU KNOW... KNOW... producers may not LIKE payin but they DO pay, and they pay dearly. When they move across the fence they will see a substantial cut in taxes and still have enough revenue for everything within the domain of government. Especially since they will cut it by 70%.

Your side must like monopolies too, no? You lunatics seem determined to put EVERY COMPANY ON EARTH under the control of one entity... government. What the hell is that but a monopoly? The only difference is that in YOUR monopoly every deadbeat gets a vote instead of just the vested shareholders!

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sledneck 3 years, 7 months ago

house, If I have someone paint my house there is a cost. If I have him buy the paint his bill increases. If I have him go to the store and get the paint still more. If I make him use only a ladder that is osha approved he will have to buy a specific ladder and the cost will rise. If I demand he pay his labor union wages the cost goes up. If I restrict his work to specific hours on certain days more $$$. If I set deadlines for completion and penalties he will bid the job higher. If I tell him there is no certain day for getting paid after completion...

The point is that uncertainty, regulation and micro-management add costs. They are taxes on everybody. Income tax rates may not be as high as ever but there are other ways the government is taxing us that most don't seem to understand.

The burden of government is higher today than it has ever been.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 7 months ago

But then the flip side is work done by unqualified people that result in dangerous work or cause injuries. Painting a house is a low risk activity, but higher risk activities such as the accident in Kremmling is a reminder why there are regulations. The added cost of doing it safely which increases the cost of each job with "stupid regulations" saves a whole lot of money and maybe even deaths by eliminating the occasional very expensive accident.

We used to have people dying all the time at their workplace. Mining and so on was killing people. We had workers handling toxic materials with no precautions and they were dying early.

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Troutguy 3 years, 7 months ago

Um, Sled. Please don't tell me what I meant to say. (I love it when somebody I've never met before knows exactly what I meant to say). I never suggested that they don't pay taxes. I said they don't like to pay taxes. Thanks. And, I don't take sides. Don't drink the koolaid from either party. Since you seem to know how those opposite the PRODUCERS would turn out, I thought I'd borrow your crystal ball and see what PRODUCERLAND would turn out like. Who's gonna clean the houses and mow the lawn in PRODUCERLAND? I'd imagine blue collar/ day laborors wouldn't be welcome in PRODUCERLAND. Who's gonna fix and maintain the roads, put out the fires, police the streets (no streeetlights in PRODUCERLAND because that would mean higher taxes). Maybe it could be like Colorado Springs, where people who can afford it pay to have the streetlights turned on in front of their house.

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sledneck 3 years, 7 months ago

So if you only meant they dont LIKE taxes why not include that they don't like chocolate ice cream... or puppies? You were implying that taxes would not get paid. My answer was that there would be more than ample revenue for government functions when all the deadbeats and handout programs were gone.

It does not take a crystal ball to know how that experiment would turn out. I mow my own grass and my wife cleans my house. And we manage to do it without breaking into a country.

Laborers would be welcome in Producerland. But there would be no minimum wage or overtime laws, or diversity training. And OSHA men would be shot on sight. My guess is some of the 10 million unemployed AMERICANS might want those jobs. Ironic that it's about the exact number of trespassers we currently have here, no?

Streetlights would be welcome in Producerland as well. The huge money we rake in from timber and mining operations would pay to keep them burning bright. I thought it was the environmental police who opposed streetlights, not those in Producerland.

I didn't know that I'd advocated a particular party in this experiment. And keep your hands off my crystal ball!

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sledneck 3 years, 7 months ago

Of course I agree, Scott, that some rules to protect people from things like that are good.

There is a point, however, at which it is not worth the effort. Some people will die doing dangerous jobs. Some will die in their sleep. "Sooner or later the graveyards are filled with everybody".

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 7 months ago

Sled, Obviously everyone eventually dies. That fact does not change that as a society that we do not want workers to be in the situation of having to decide between doing a dangerous job vs not collecting a paycheck. That it is immoral to be putting workers in competition against each other over whom is willing to take the most personal risks in order to collect a paycheck.

The trouble, as I see it, is that the regulations are sometimes in-artfully written so that they do not distinguish between different situations that might mitigate the potential harm. There might be safety procedures that do not distinguish between being 6 or 60 feet above the ground.

Labor unions were created back when there were no minimum wages and no workplace safety rules. It was those very conditions that inspired laborers to work as a collective to demand minimum wages and workplace conditions. It was the great success of unions getting minimum wages and workplace safety rules as the law of the land that greatly led to the decline of private sector unions. That workers no longer need unions to get many of the benefits that were once exclusive features of union jobs. Thus, unions became largely limited to industries that had become static where they could maintain their historical situation. And, of course, government jobs where they could utilize their political power to gain benefits in a noncompetitive workplace.

So, if we were to eliminate minimum wages and workplace rules then we will once again see the rise of labor unions.

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sledneck 3 years, 7 months ago

I disagree that it is immoral to put workers in competition. Investors have to take huge risks. Football players risk personal injury. Those who take the most risk get the most reward. That is exactly as it should be.

To say that regulations are "in-artfully written" is like saying fish are damp.

There was a time when unions were of value. Today they are a nusiance. A shakedown mob sanctioned by the government. Teacher unions, for example, are the WORST THING imaginable for education.

Minimum wage rules kill jobs. And since the vast majority of workers are "just passing through" the minimum wage when starting out the result is lost opportunity and loss of early job experience; both detrimental for years to come.

The bigger issue here is who is to order society. This idea that government should make decisions about what jobs are safe, what medicines are safe, where there should be handicapped facilities, etc springs from a notion that government should be about "planning" for society. This foolish busy-body concept is nothing more than the forcible SUPPRESSION of millions of peoples plans by that government imposed plan. F A Hayek made a watertight case that society functions best when each member brings decisions to bear on the immediate situaton and creates a market. That market functions best when all products and services are left unrestricted; PRODUCTIVITY being the basis for ones remuniration.

If so many intellectuals wish income to be de-coupled from productivity (which is the ultimate result of unions) they should do what has never been done and what never will be... Make a case for a functional, productive, safe and vibrant society based on that principle.

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housepoor 3 years, 7 months ago

Hey Sled, I think you should go down to the Courthouse and pitch the commissioners a plan to privatize county roads. They are meeting this afternoon. The county could sell the roads to a private company who in turn could charge a use fee or toll. They could sell a yearly pass to people who lived in road and the rest us of would be pay as you go. That way if you don't use a particular county road you'd have no obligation to pay for its maintenance and plowing with YOUR money? Just like your plans for the nation’s children?

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sledneck 3 years, 7 months ago

I do favor more toll roads, House. I was planning to go into town later today. What time was that Commissioners meeting?

Children, children, it's all about the children. Shame on me for not caring for the children. Anyone who really cares about the children would give them all the funding they wanted, yes and all the soda they want, all the trans-fat, all the multi-generational debt, regulatory hurdles. It's all for the good of the children.

"Of all tyranies, a tyranny excercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barrons than under omnipotent moral busy-bodies. The robber barrons cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may be, at some point, satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own concience." C S Lewis

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JustSomeJoe 3 years, 7 months ago

I suppose if we were talking about better parking and winter maintenance at Dry Lake it would be a different story, eh sled? Those are some tax dollars we should be spending, 3 and 4 axles pay the same as 2 axles up there.

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trump_suit 3 years, 7 months ago

Sled would have us return to the days of old in the wild wild west where the laws were few and the taxes were low. The man with the biggest/fastest gun ruleed the world and that gave you the right to take whatever you wanted be it land, women or gold.

It might just be that Sled's basic problem is that he cannot use guns to get what he wants. If we eliminate enough Government then the man with the gun becomes king again.

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sledneck 3 years, 7 months ago

Paid for by the users of the lot, parking should be. Raise the parking fees @ Dry Lake to $50/ day, they should.

If think it so wrong to use force, you do, how support you the current level of government? Government, by its very nature, being force.

Guns give no rights. Endowed by our creator with rights, we all are.

Much conflict I see in you young Jedis... and fear, yes... much fear.

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Cooke 3 years, 7 months ago

Sled -- great CS Lewis quote. No sarcasm there, it truly is a interesting quote. Now -- full disclosure, I am not, nor ever have been a member of any union. However, having watched some of the actions of teachers unions here in Colorado, I am curious as to some specific examples of why you think that those unions in particular are the worst thing that ever happened to education. Elaborate, don't just spew.

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sledneck 3 years, 7 months ago

Cooke, Education unions represent the teachers and their interests. They do not advocate for the children, their education, their safety at school, their health in the cafeteria, etc. And in fairness to the unions they should not be expected to do so because... they represent TEACHERS, NOT STUDENTS. There are numerous examples of bad teachers (I mean teachers we all would want gone) being protected by their unions. Here are a few specific examples: 1. "I don't represent the children, I represent the teachers". Al Shanker Former Pres. American federation of teachers. 2. "I've gone in and defended teachers who should'n't even be pumping gas". NJ teachers union rep. 3."The NEA has been the single biggest obstacle to education reform in this country. We know because we worked for the NEA." Billy Boyton & John Lloyd- Nebraska & Kansas NEA affilliates. 4. When asked if they would support merit pay for teachers in Los Angeles the union rep responded "on a cold day in hell." 5. Teachers unions oppose charter schools.

As individuals we choose our computers and automobiles. You like GM and Apple. I like Ford and HP. What would happen if the government decided there would be one computer and one car manufacturer? Everyone would lobby and there would be a lot of hell raised by those favoring one over the other. No one would ever be satisfied.

That is what happens daily with education. Parents who want sex ed, evolution only and no prayer in schools constantly bicker politically with parents who want intelligent design taught as an alternative to evolution, no sex education or who approve of prayer in school.

This perpetual battle could be ended overnight with one stroke of a pen. Just as the government does not make computers or cars it should not be in the education provider business. So long as the cirriculum is sufficient parents should be allowed to keep their tax money and educate their children in the "Ford" school or "GM" school as they see fit.

Unions have blocked this. This is the single biggest detriment to education.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 7 months ago

Well, looks like a whole lot of states and school districts have changed in the past couple of years to have teacher ratings and charter schools and other things that you seem to think could never happen.

The far bigger issue facing the education system are parents that expect the schools to do everything and don't make sure their kids do homework or read at home.

When was the last time that teaching intelligent design was an issue in Steamboat? I thought that issue was settled. That science is taught here so go elsewhere if you want creationism taught in your kid's school. Same thing for school led prayers - want that then send your kids to the private school of that religion.

And parents chose schools for their kids all the time. Most all parents are aware of the quality of the school district of where they live. Quality of the local school district can easily add 10% to the value of a home.

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sledneck 3 years, 7 months ago

You are right about parents. They are a big problem. And to the extent things are changing I am pleased. It does not conflict with the FACT that teacher unions are bad for education.

Saying "I thought that issue was settled" is an elitist way of saying "I don't want to discuss it anymore and if you disagree you are stupid". Thats a tactic the intelligentsia have been using for years. Like calling global warming "settled science".

You make my point BOMBPROOF when you say "... go elsewhere if you want creationism taught... " THATS the point! I can't take my kids elsewhere cause the Steamboat school district won't give me my money back.

Here is the question: Since you want me to take my kids elsewhere do you support giving every parent a check for their school funding and allowing them to educate their kids in any school they chose? (so long as minimum education standards are met, of course)

The issue is not about creationism or prayer. It's about freedom of choice, a concept given lipservice by the left on ONE issue but held in contempt on all others.

Getting the government out of the education business would be the single best thing that could happen to education.

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jaded 3 years, 7 months ago

A child doesn't have to attend a private or religious school to be taught creationism, they just won't be taught it in the public school. IN fact, there is ALOT that isn't taught in the public schools. THIS is where parents can/should step up and supplement the education of their own child - which every parent should do regardless of the school - you don't need to remove your child from the public school and you still get what you want.

You can take your child to church, Sunday school, or enlighten them on your own - all for no additional cost - except of course the donations the church asks for.

If the public school isn't emphasizing reading enough for your family, read at home. If the public school isn't teaching your child how to speak Chinese, do it yourself. And if the public school isn't teaching creationism, bring them to church!

The public schools are designed to give every child attending an equal opportunity to learn a basic and diverse set of curriculum so that they can compete later in life and become productive adults, not what to believe spiritually. That is on you - the parent.

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sledneck 3 years, 7 months ago

I repeat, the issue is NOT creationism or prayer. Nor is it anything else being taught or not taught.

The issue is why can't people keep their tax money and use it to educate their kids wherever they CHOOSE... You know, "Pro-Choice".

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John Fielding 3 years, 7 months ago

Sled you are right that we should have a choice in how our education funds are spent, vouchers are being tried in some districts. The part about meeting standards is a little tricky. What happens if you home school your kids and do it poorly? Do you not get your voucher next year if they can't pass the standard tests? If that is so, would the public schools also not get funding the next year for kids they taught who didn't pass?

Still, there is much merit in making education a more competitive industry. If vouchers are widely used I believe many find small institutions will emerge, and the public schools will improve as well.

"Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in." Abraham Lincoln --March 9, 1832 First Political Announcement... .

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sledneck 3 years, 7 months ago

What do you mean "IF" the public school kids didn't pass?

I think an overwhelming majority of parents who were willing to take such initiative would make better teachers or find better teachers than public schools. I would expect the product of home schooling or private schooling to be superior in almost every way to the government product. Just say the words aloud... "government product, government product". The sound of those words alone...

Competition improves products... period. Freedom improves people... period.

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