Pros and cons of tax increases | SteamboatToday.com

Pros and cons of tax increases

Christine Metz

— The Routt County Clerk’s office is preparing the 2001 Tax Payers’ Bill of Rights to be sent out no later than Oct. 5.

The eight-page letter sent to all Routt County registered voters is one of the longest county mailings in the TABOR’s eight-year history, County Clerk Kay Weiland said.

This year’s TABOR will include pro or con statements for five of the six area referendums presented on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Required by state law, the TABOR must include all county referendums that will be voted on in November and all pro or con statements submitted by citizens or private groups to election officials.

The county took the pro and con statements for each issue and condensed them into 500-word summaries for each side of the issue.

All statements had to be submitted to election officials by last Friday.

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Only two issues, the county’s early childcare and the Eagle County School District’s cost of living referendums, will have both pro and con statements.

The county childcare referendum is asking if voters would support a $650,000 annual tax increase for providing, assisting and enhancing early childhood education. The Eagle County School District’s referendum is asking for a $3,115,827 annual tax increase for a cost of living adjustment in its budget.

The city’s early childcare and the Steamboat Springs School District’s cost of living adjustment referendums both received pro but no con statements.

If the city’s childcare referendum was passed, a tax increase of up to $160,000 annually would be used in Steamboat Springs for providing, assisting and enhancing in childhood education and care. The school district’s referendum is asking voters to approve a $773,000 increase for a cost of living adjustment for the salaries and benefits of teachers and staff.

The city’s 3-2-1 referendum, which would raise up to $2.9 million in sales tax for Steamboat Springs’ transportation needs, was the only ballot issue not receiving any pro or con statements.

Weiland said the pro and con statements are just something voters are learning about. She does say there are some problems with the statements printed.

“There is one problem, there is no requirement that statements be factual,” she said. “People can submit some misleading information and we are required to run it.”

Weiland said the mailings would also include fiscal information about referendums proposing tax increases and the city will include resolutions and ordinances regarding its referendums on the 3-2-1 and the early childhood education tax.