Steve Lewis: Steamboat Institute |

Steve Lewis: Steamboat Institute

Steamboat Springs — To Rick Akin and the Steamboat Institute: — To Rick Akin and the Steamboat Institute:

— To Rick Akin and the Steamboat Institute:

I'm trying to understand the relevance of your views to issues within Routt County. During the past year or so, you folks have had a lot to say about conservative values on government, taxes and fiscal policy at the national level. Do these same principles translate to the issues of Steamboat Springs and Routt County?

Rick, you frequently have written in this newspaper, advising readers of the many flaws you find in government policies at the national level, leveling hefty criticisms along the way. Your Steamboat Institute website lists a set of brief principles including limited government, lower taxes and free market capitalism that underpin your writing. What is the meaning of Steamboat Institute principles and convictions that propel you to discover so many epic mistakes in Washington, D.C., but prompt no such leadership for Steamboat Springs and Routt County? Rick, doesn't it make sense to include in your writing some specific examples of what Steamboat Institute principles can achieve here in the valley of your audience?

In the squeezed county and city budgets, surely a limited government advocate like you has specific advice on where to cut expenses. Would you, for example, eliminate city funding assistance for our community foundations?

In the emerging Steamboat Springs conversation about substituting our sales tax with a property tax for revenue stability, do your free-market principles prompt a helpful opinion? Where does your principle of lowering taxes fit in?

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What would your conservative convictions tell us about city taxes spent on tourism marketing through the Chamber? Do you agree with the lodging taxes that are dedicated to subsidizing and marketing for airline seats into Steamboat Springs? To date, these two have truly confused me about what it means to be a conservative in Steamboat. Surely your conviction to support free-market capitalism will clear that up.

Tax increment-based bonds are underwriting a very nice promenade walkway for our ski area base. Do you support that use of taxpayer money?

Think about it. Bringing beltway debates, and beltway authors, to the Pilot commentary page offers marginal value. These authors have dozens of well-worn and often fact-bending talking points to choose from in supporting either side. How many Routt County ranchers and retailers would spot the sincere man in that distant game? Write about specific details in our valley's issues and they'll know pretty quickly.

By all means Rick, walk the talk and stand by your convictions. That's great. But bring your lofty principles and hefty critiques down to earth by penning principled and specific commentary on these local issues touching the folks you've been preaching to.

Steve Lewis

Steamboat Springs

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