60, 61 and 101 cut too deep for local schools | AspenTimes.com

60, 61 and 101 cut too deep for local schools

Dear Editor:

As the board of directors of the Roaring Fork School District, we urge everyone to vote no on ballot measures 60, 61 and 101.

These three measures are aimed at cutting taxes and reducing public spending. These measures may look appealing at first. Who wouldn’t prefer to pay lower taxes?

Of course, the reason we pay taxes is to fund public services, including police, fire, libraries, sewer, roads and schools. Our communities as a whole benefit from these services. Therefore, our communities as a whole pay for these services through taxes.

If we reduce the amount of taxes we pay, we will reduce the public services we receive. Proposition 101 proposes a state income tax reduction that would result in a loss of over $1 billion per year to the state of Colorado. This huge reduction in taxes will result in significant reductions to valuable services provided by police departments, fire departments, water and sewer districts and other public agencies, including school districts.

Looking specifically at the Roaring Fork School District, the following are just some of the negative impacts that 60, 61 and 101 will have on our schools, teachers and children:

Amendment 60: This amendment, once fully implemented, would cut school districts’ property tax collections in half, resulting in approximately $17.4 million loss per year to our school district – the equivalent of about 300 teachers and other school staff.

According to amendment 60, the state will backfill this loss of revenue. However, this provision is completely unrealistic. For the state to backfill this loss of revenue to school districts across Colorado it would take about 92 percent of the entire state budget – virtually eliminating all spending on higher education, the judicial system, jails, health care and human services. Some have argued that Colorado’s economy will experience sufficient growth in the coming years to make this backfill to school districts possible. However, even during a time of economic growth, the state would not have sufficient funds to replace this loss of revenue from property tax collections.

Amendment 61: This amendment would put an end to the state’s cash flow loan program for districts like ours that are heavily dependent on property taxes. Since property taxes are not collected until the end of our fiscal year, we borrow money from the state until those taxes are received, and then return that money to the state once we receive the taxes. Without this program, our schools would run out of cash for all operating expenses from January 1 until March of each year.

Proposition 101: This proposition reduces state taxes and fees, including vehicle registration taxes. These cuts would result in a loss of about $1.6 million per year to our school district – the equivalent of about 30 teachers.

Clearly, the impact of these tax-cutting measures will be devastating to our schools and the children of our community. Please spread the word to your friends: Vote no on 60, 61, 101.

Board of directors of the Roaring Fork School District

Debbie Bruell, Bob Johnson, Bill Lamont and Myles Rovig

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