Forum to address ballot measures |

Forum to address ballot measures

Candidates to attend event, discuss early childhood education

Jack Weinstein

— The 2010 First Impressions of Routt County Candidates and Issues Forum is more than an opportunity for candidates in local races to introduce themselves and answer questions.

Stephanie Martin, First Imp­­ressions' early childhood council program supervisor, said the forum also is intended to provide information about how three ballot measures voters will consider in November could affect county revenues and funding for local public education.

Martin said Dan Strnad, Routt County's finance director, would give a short presentation about Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 at the forum. The event is from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday in the Commissioners Hearing Room at the Routt County Courthouse.

If approved, Proposition 101 would reduce or eliminate various taxes and fees, including some that provide funding for public education. Amendment 60 would force school districts to cut their mill levies in half by 2020 and repeal local governments voter-approved authority to retain and spend property taxes above TABOR limits. Amendment 61 would require local governments to get voter approval to borrow, repay debt in 10 years and eliminate the state's interest-free loan program for schools.

"It impacts everything, and it especially impacts our schools," Martin said about the ballot measures, should they be approved by voters.

Supporters of the ballot measures at Colorado Tax Reforms have referred questions to their website, Opposition to the measures can be found at, the website for Coloradans for Responsible Reform.

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The Colorado General Ass­embly Legislative Council's ann­ual blue book, which analyzes the fiscal impact of proposed ballot initiatives, was released last week. It can be found at

Martin said the candidate and issues forum, after Strnad's presentation, would follow the format that's been used since the annual event started in 2000.

She said each candidate would have two minutes to introduce themselves and then would take questions from the Early Childhood Council and members of the public.

"We see it as an opportunity not only to let the candidates know about First Impressions and about why early childhood is so important, (but also) to hear from the candidates about issues that are important to families with small children," she said. "It's also a chance for the public to hear from the candidates they'll vote for in November."

Martin said that she thinks the three ballot measures will be a major focus of questions posed to candidates.

First Impressions is waiting for confirmation from several candidates, but Martin said they all were invited. See Tuesday's Steamboat Today for more information about the candidates who have confirmed they will participate in Wednesday's forum.

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