Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush: Vote ‘yes’ on 4B for CMC |

Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush: Vote ‘yes’ on 4B for CMC

Vote “yes” on 4B. Colorado Mountain College was created as a locally funded college 50 years ago by a vote of 2-to-1. Since that time, CMC has served nearly 500,000 students and is the primary provider of police officers, fire fighters, nurses, early childhood educators and hospitality workers in our mountain communities.

Now, the Gallagher Amendment is negatively impacting CMC's revenues. The Gallagher Amendment has not come into play in Colorado for the past 14 years, but due to extreme growth in the Front Range, Gallagher is now artificially lowering the residential tax assessment levels on the Western Slope.

In 2017, Gallagher forced a significant reduction of the statewide residential property tax assessment rate — a 9.5 percent reduction — causing a revenue reduction to CMC of over $2.7 million. Continued lowering of the residential property tax assessment rate by Gallagher means a cumulative, compounded reduction in revenue for the college in the future.

Providing access to affordable, quality education is only accomplished by local funding, which is compromised by Gallagher. In 2016, for every $100,000 in property value owned by residential taxpayers, $32 in property taxes were paid to CMC in order to fund these critical rural educational services. Maintaining this same level of residential property tax funding into the future is critical to continue the legacy of accessible, affordable postsecondary education for our rural communities.

Importantly, measure 4B is not an automatic or unlimited tax increase. It simply enables CMC’s elected board to recover only those revenues lost by CMC due to reductions resulting from Gallagher. Residential taxpayers would pay the same level of CMC property tax as they would have paid prior to a Gallagher adjustment.

I believe that measure 4B will protect the future of Colorado Mountain College. Our local economy and the demand for additional services from the College are also growing, yet the impact of the Gallagher Amendment ratchets down the revenue that our voter-approved 3.997 mill levy would allow the college to collect and use.

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Vote Yes on 4B to protect our local asset.

Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush

Steamboat Springs