Our View: Be informed this election season
October 15, 2013
Take the time to inform yourself about local and state issues on which you’ll be voting in November.
Routt County voters will be receiving ballots for the Nov. 5 election in the mail this week. Area residents have a little more than two weeks to make their decisions, and the Steamboat Pilot & Today encourages voters to use that time for education and careful reflection on the issues.
Although it's considered an off-year election with only local elected positions to consider, there still are many important issues on the ballot that deserve voter attention.
In addition to deciding a Steamboat Springs City Council race and school board member contests in Hayden and Steamboat, local voters, depending on where they live, will be considering a mill levy increase for the West Routt Fire Protection District, a proposed tax increase for the Morrison Creek water district that serves the Stagecoach area, a change in the Steamboat Springs School Board's representation from a districted to at-large structure and a plan for spending the city of Steamboat Springs' lodging tax revenue throughout the next 10 years.
Beyond issues of local significance, county voters also will have the opportunity to weigh in on two statewide tax initiatives — one to fund regulation of Colorado's new recreational marijuana industry and the other to pay for an overhaul of the state's education funding formula and establish new funding priorities.
In particular, Amendment 66 is a bill that deserves closer study by voters. If approved, state income tax rates would increase and $950 billion of new education revenue would be generated in the first full year of implementation. Proponents of the bill say Amendment 66 will result in school reform and higher quality education for all students in Colorado. Opponents claim the measure adds a greater tax burden on state taxpayers without guaranteeing increased academic achievement. There also is discussion about some school districts, including Steamboat, paying more taxes to the state than they will receive back.
In other words, the issue is complicated, highly charged and, because of its complexity, requires voters to dig deeper to try to understand the issue. Amendment 66 is a great example of why we are urging voters to become engaged in the pre-election discussion and strive to educate themselves on all the ballot issues.
As Steamboat's local news source, we are doing our part to provide voters with the information they need to make informed decisions. Toward this end, we have published our annual Election Guide, which is inserted in today's paper, and we also have an Election Guide page available at SteamboatToday.com/election that includes expanded coverage and links to all our election stories.
On Thursday, the Pilot & Today, along with the Steamboat Board of Realtors and the Routt County Democratic and Republican parties, will host an election forum from 5 to 8 p.m. at The Steamboat Grand. The forum is free and open to the public. The forum will be recorded and replayed on TV 18 at 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. The video also will be available on our website election page.
We encourage voters to take advantage of these resources, and we also suggest they research issues on their own. In our digital world, there is no end to the information you can find online. Our only advice in this area is to make sure what you are searching and reading is from a credible, unbiased source.