Taxes stir state House race

Ivancie: Baumgardner’s position on ballot measures like ‘Jekyll and Hyde’

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Randy Baumgardner

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Steve Ivancie

Campaign calendar

Today — South Routt candidate forum, 7 p.m. at the South Routt School District offices, behind Soroco High School in Oak Creek. The League of Women Voters will facilitate the forum, which follows the booster club’s chili cook-off from 5 to 7 p.m. Call forum organizer Bill Auer at 970-736-0197.

Wednesday — Hayden candidate forum, 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the Exhibit Hall at the Routt County Fairgrounds. Call Ray and Marlene Birch at 970-846-7647 or 970-276-1231.

Thursday — Routt County Democratic Party lunch with senior citizens and the Routt County Council on Aging, at noon at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. Some candidates will speak at the event. Call Catherine Carson at 970-870-2896.

Thursday — The Improve Soroco Schools committee hosts a public meeting about ballot issue 3A, a property tax increase to help fund the South Routt School District, at 7 p.m. at the school district offices in Oak Creek.

Friday — Routt County Republican Central Committee’s pig roast is at noon at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. Event features a barbecued swine from the junior livestock auction at this year’s Routt County Fair. The event is free for senior citizens and their visiting guests. The Council on Aging will provide transportation from across the county. Sam Haslem, Chuck Vale and county fire chiefs will be barbecuing. Candidates will serve food. Volunteers can arrive at 10:30 a.m., help serve and have lunch. Call Jeanne Whiddon at 970-734-4074.

Saturday — Democratic Colorado attorney general candidate Stan Garnett visits for a public meet and greet at noon at the Abbott residence, 140 Park Ave.

Oct. 12 to 16 — Ballots mailed to all registered voters who requested a mail-in ballot.

Oct. 12 — Candidate forum hosted by the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs, at about 1 p.m. at The Steamboat Grand, featuring county coroner candidates or their representatives. Other candidates to be announced. Rotarians and their guests are welcome.

Oct. 12 — A meet and greet with Republican Routt County sheriff candidate Garrett Wiggins is from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library.

Oct. 12 — State Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, will meet with residents about his recent trip to Arizona from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library.

Oct. 13 — League of Women Voters candidate forum, 7 p.m. at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. Call Jo Stanko at 970-879-3936.

Oct. 14 — Candidate forum hosted by the Steamboat Pilot & Today, Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, and Routt County Democratic and Republican parties, at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. A social hour is from 5 to 6 p.m., followed by the forum.

Oct. 14 — The Improve Soroco Schools committee hosts a public meeting about ballot issue 3A, a property tax increase to help fund the South Routt School District, at 7 p.m. at the Stagecoach fire station.

Oct. 18 — Early voting begins. Voters who didn’t request a mail-in ballot can cast a ballot at the Routt County Courthouse.

Oct. 19 — Candidate forum hosted by the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs, at about 1 p.m. at The Steamboat Grand, featuring county sheriff candidates or their representatives. Other candidates to be announced. Rotarians and their guests are welcome.

Oct. 26 — Last day to request a ballot through the mail.

Oct. 29 — Early voting ends.

Nov. 2 — Election Day. Polling locations will be open across the county, according to precinct.

Know about an event that’s not listed here? Contact Mike Lawrence at 970-871-4233 or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com.

Oak Creek Libertarian Mike Kien expressed strong support Monday for three controversial ballot initiatives that have drawn unified opposition from his Democratic and Republican opponents in the race for a state House seat.

“I’m clearly for those ballot issues,” Kien said Monday about Proposition 101 and Amendments 60 and 61. “The principle is taxes are too high.”

Kien has been quiet on the local campaign trail this fall — he said Monday that he’s “met his fundraising goal of $0” — but his support for the controversial initiatives offers a clear difference from incumbent House District 57 Rep. Randy Baumgardner and Democratic challenger Steve Ivancie.

Proposition 101 and Amend­ments 60 and 61 would reduce various taxes and fees and limit governments’ ability to borrow.

Baumgardner, a Republican, and Ivancie oppose the measures but are sparring a bit about some of Baumgardner’s recent statements.

In a column published in Sunday’s Steamboat Pilot & Today, Baumgardner called the three initiatives “fiscal suicide” and urged residents to vote against them.

“These initiatives would be devastating to our local governments and school districts,” Baumgardner wrote. “Additionally, they would cripple the state’s ability to meet demands for a growing population and crumbling infrastructure.”

Ivancie re-emphasized his opposition to the initiatives in a Sunday column of his own but said Monday that Baumgardner’s position on them has done a

“180” in recent weeks. Baum­gardner denied that charge.

“There was no change — I was always opposed to them,” he said.

Baumgardner, a Hot Sulphur Springs Republican running for his second term representing House District 57, took an essentially neutral position on Proposition 101 and Amendments 60 and 61 last month.

“If they don’t pass, we’re going to have budget problems. If they do pass, we’re going to have budget problems,” Baumgardner told the Steamboat Pilot & Today in comments published Sept. 19. “We’re just going to have to find a different way of operating business in Colorado due to a lack of revenue.”

He also indicated that he thinks Colorado would be fine with or without passage of the initiatives.

“If these do pass, will we survive with or without? Yeah, we’ll survive. People in Colorado have a lot of intestinal fortitude, and we’ll buckle down, and we’ll make it through,” Baumgardner said at the time.

Baumgardner reiterated Mon­day that he thinks approval of the initiatives would not be financially fatal for the state. He said his position has been consistent and that his comments last month reflected his awareness of concerns about the initiatives and the resilience needed should they win approval.

“I understood what the concerns were, and that if those did pass, we as a state would face those challenges together,” Baumgardner said. “If they do pass, we will survive.”

Ivancie, a Democrat, a former Steamboat Springs City Councilman and a strong opponent of what he called “the big bad three,” said there’s a “little bit of Jekyll and Hyde” in Baumgardner’s recent statements about the measures.

“It’s nice to see him come 180 degrees on those,” Ivancie said. “Flip-flops are fine, as long as they’re on the right side.”

Ivancie stressed, though, that he’s “happy to see” Baumgard­ner’s strengthened opposition.

“If we can educate the public as to the really dire consequences (of the initiatives) … I don’t care where the help comes from,” Ivancie said.

State Sen. Al White, a Hay­den Republican and member of Colorado’s Joint Budget Com­­mittee, said last month that the three initiatives would “bankrupt the state.”

They’ve drawn opposition from all three Routt County public school boards, the Routt County Board of Commissioners and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association. The Steamboat Springs City Council is scheduled tonight to act on a resolution stating the city’s opposition to the initiatives.

Supporters have said Prop­osition 101 and Amendments 60 and 61 would force government to cut spending and operate more efficiently. Support for the measures can be found at www.cotax

reforms.com.

Support also can be found from Kien.

Kien said arguments against the three initiatives are comparable to arguments against the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, a revenue-restricting amendment to the state constitution that Colorado voters approved 18 years ago.

“All of these scare tactics were tried back in 1992 when TABOR was initially passed,” he said. “We all have to pitch in together. We can’t get a handle on this government spending unless we the people step forward and take care of it.”

He said school districts and local governments could adjust to the results of the initiatives.

“Every single one of them will learn to live within the new budget,” he said. “Everybody that depends on the taxpayer dollar, they want a raise. They want more money. They want to spend.”

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