Moffat County resident supporting ballot measures

Rick Barnes: Amendments 60, 61 and Prop 101 would limit government control

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Rick Barnes

If you go

What: Moffat County Tea Party meeting

When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: American Legion Post 62, 1055 Moffat County Road 7.

— Moffat County resident Rick Barnes will discuss Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101. The meeting is open to the public. For more information, call Billie Jacobs at 824-0339.

Moffat County resident Rick Barnes contends government is expanding dramatically in size and scope, and is close to controlling “everything.”

“They run our lives now, to the point where we have no control over what we do,” he said.

For that reason, Barnes is supporting Amendments 60 and 61, and Proposition 101 — three measures he said would limit government control and spending.

“It is going to put government back in line and give the people back the power,” said Barnes, a member of the Moffat County tea party.

Barnes will share his thoughts on the three ballot measures at a Moffat County tea party meeting at 6:30 p.m. today at the American Legion Post 62, 1055 Moffat County Road 7.

The meeting is open to the public.

According to the Bell Policy Center, Amendment 60 amends the state constitution to cut property taxes for schools in half by 2020; repeal all elections that allowed local governments to retain property tax revenues above the Taxpayer Bill of Rights limits; require future retention votes to expire after four years; require future votes to increase property taxes to expire after 10 years; require the state to backfill reduced property tax revenues; require public enterprises and authorities to pay property taxes; require local governments to cut property taxes to offset these new revenues; and re-set local TABOR limits to lower levels.

Amendment 61 amends the state constitution to ban all borrowing by the state; lower caps on local borrowing by 60 percent or more; limit local borrowing to 10 years; require voter approval of borrowing; and require taxes to be cut when borrowing is paid off, according to the center.

Proposition 101 changes state law to reduce income taxes from 4.63 percent to 3.5 percent over time; cut taxes and fees on vehicles; exempt leased and rented vehicles from sales tax; exempt the first $10,000 of vehicle purchases from sales tax; eliminate fees on telecommunications except 911; set a lower state TABOR revenue limit; and require voter approval of fees on vehicles and telecommunications, according to Bell.

Barnes said the three ballot measures are giving TABOR “teeth.”

“(The) government has found a loophole and gone around the TABOR act for the last 17 years, since 1992,” he said. “Our taxes have gone up 181 percent since TABOR was enacted.”

The same people and entities that were “fighting” TABOR before it passed, Barnes said, are the same entities that are fighting the three ballot measures.

“They do not want to have to start cutting back,” he said. “They don’t want to have to be responsible … for the money they’re spending, (and) where it is going.

“They want to keep taxing, they want to keep spending, and these three bills will stop it dead in (its) tracks.”

According to Bell, opponents of the three measures contend that if they pass, state schools would suffer from funding cuts, and the ability for the state to finance future building projects, like roads, schools and other projects, would be damaged.

Bell also reports that local and state governments would see a reduction in funding for budgets and services, among other impacts.

Despite some short-term woes for government, Barnes said the three measures would benefit taxpayers in the long run.

“Will the passage of these three be somewhat painful? Yeah,” he said. “Will the legislature, cities, counties (and) municipalities struggle for times as they reassess their priorities? Yes. Will greater freedom for the taxpayer be the result? Yes.”

As for the measures’ possible impacts to services provided by governments, Barnes said there are many services residents do not need.

“The government has taken the role of being responsible of the citizens when the citizens need to be responsible for themselves,” he said.

Barnes said many of the government jobs that could be lost if the measures pass “shouldn’t be there” anyway.

“It is a waste of tax payer’s money with a lot of these positions that they have got in there,” he said.

The three measures, Barnes said, are gaining support from residents as more information about the benefits of the measures becomes available.

“I believe there are more and more people that are starting to look at it and see the light that, ‘Hey, these (aren’t) exactly the way they’re putting them out,’” he said.

In Moffat County, however, Barnes said he is not sure of the support the measures currently have. But, that isn’t stopping him from trying to spread the word about them, he said.

“If the people start digging and doing the research of what they need to do to find out about them, they will actually be for it, because it puts the power back to the voter,” he said.

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