This letter is written to respond to the editorial by Diane Mitsch Bush in the Oct. 18 Steamboat Today about why we should support Amendment 66. I am going to vote ‘no’ on this amendment for the reasons explained below.
As a tax and spend Democrat, Rep. Bush makes an eloquent argument for raising taxes just a little and then improving our schools a lot. Her most telling statement is “It moves us closer to a fiscally sustainable public education system where all children have an opportunity to succeed and flourish, regardless of their parents’ zip code.”
Amendment 66 is an income redistribution scheme, which would take tax money from Routt County and give it to other parts of the state. The estimate is that the income tax collected locally would be $6.7 million of which $1.5 million would be returned to us (maybe).
Totally absent from her article is any discussion of the primary source of school support, which is local property taxes. These taxes are the basis of local control of school spending. The mill levy on Steamboat Springs schools is 17.2 mills and is larger than any other on our property tax bills. For comparison, the Routt County general fund levy is 14.8 mills. Steamboat schools receive 30.4 percent of my property tax. Amendment 66 would move more control of the schools from the local to the state level by “Investments in preschool, full-day kindergarten, special needs, at risk and …”
Finally, Amendment 66 gives the state $1 billion dollars more in taxes. While these funds are earmarked for schools, this takes a billion dollars worth of pressure off of the rest of the budget. In short, it gives the state more money to spend.
Thus, for me, Amendment 66 represents an attempt by the state to redistribute income from Routt County to the rest of the state and to exert more state control over our schools. Finally, a state income tax increase “for the childern” still is a state income tax increase.
Vote ‘no’ on Amendment 66.