Our View: Fall election is crucial
September 24, 2011
Sept. 22, 2011: Winter airline tax presented to Steamboat Democrats
Sept. 22, 2011: Hayden School Board declines endorsement of Proposition 103
Sept. 17, 2011: Group forms to oppose Proposition 103
Sept. 16, 2011: South Routt School Board endorses tax increase
Sept. 12, 2011: Steamboat Springs School Board supports Proposition 103
Steamboat Springs — Odd-year elections tend to see lower voter turnout than their even-year counterparts, but that shouldn't be the case in Routt County this fall.
This year's election, without high-profile positions like president or senator at stake that drive turnout with high-dollar campaigns, probably has a greater impact on the day-to-day lives of the people in Routt County than the typical election.
The one statewide ballot issue this year is Proposition 103, a measure that would increase income taxes and the state sales tax for a period of five years to generate an estimated $2.9 billion for Colorado's public schools. The quality of our state's schools not only is a quality-of-life issue that can attract investment in our communities, it is a crucial factor in the success of our children as they grow up. Whether the state needs these funds is a worthy topic for discussion, but there is no debate as to the importance of the issue.
In Steamboat, voters will determine whether to increase the city sales tax by 0.25 percent for five years to raise money for the winter air program that provides airline revenue guarantees for ski season flights into Yampa Valley Regional Airport. Proponents of the airline program point to the jobs created and supported as well as the related location-neutral workforce as one of the key reasons to support the ballot initiative. Opponents question the effectiveness of the program and whether a new sales tax is the correct long-term strategy.
In each of our communities, we also will decide ballot issues ranging from police and fire protection funding to community standards on medical marijuana to filling seats on public bodies that allocate local budgets and make priorities. Aside from the merits of the issues or candidates on each of these ballot items, it is difficult to imagine a local election that will have a greater impact on what it is like to live and work in Northwest Colorado.
There's a lot for voters to sort through in the coming weeks. Ballots will be mailed out beginning Oct. 11. Fortunately, there are easy ways in which voters can educate themselves on the issues.
The Steamboat Pilot & Today will publish its annual election guide the week of Oct. 10 and will provide additional election resources in the print newspaper and on SteamboatToday.com throughout the election cycle. Separately, the Pilot & Today, the Routt County Democratic Party, the Routt County Republican Party and the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors are co-sponsoring a candidates forum beginning at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Steamboat Springs Community Center.
If you prefer one-on-one communication with candidates, email or call them directly with your questions. If you have questions about the mail ballot process or your voter registration, call the Clerk and Recorder's Office at 970-870-5556. Residents also can register to vote or update their registration status by logging on to http://www.govotecolorado.com.
Do not underestimate the importance of this year's election. Register to vote, study the issues and candidates and cast votes that you think will help our communities achieve a prosperous future.