Garfield County looking into effects of ballot questions
July 10, 2010
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – As is happening in governments throughout the state, Garfield County is investigating the likely effects of three ballot questions that will go before voters in November.Proposition 101 and proposed constitutional amendments 60 and 61 are all aimed at limiting the state’s ability to collect and spend money.The matter will be discussed at a special work session on July 13 at 8 a.m. at the county commissioners’ meeting room in the county administration building, 108 8th St., Glenwood Springs.According to a presentation prepared by county Finance Director Lisa Dawson, passage of the ballot questions would have a number of impacts on the county’s fiscal picture.This could include the likelihood that fees for county services would need to be raised to counter a drop in revenues from other sources.Amendment 61 would require voter approval before a local government or school district can borrow money, and limit the form, term and amount of borrowing, including a requirement that all publicly financed projects be paid off within 10 years.Amendment 60, by lowering the property tax rate over time, would affect entities such as school districts and Garfield County that rely on property taxes. It would also repeal the so-called de-Brucing measures that have been approved in the years since Colorado’s TABOR law was passed – which allow governments to keep and spend tax dollars above certain yearly limits.Proposition 101 would lower the state income tax rate and would eliminate or reduce vehicle registration and telecommunications fees.Proponents of the measures argue that they will bring needed tax relief to the state and rein in government spending and borrowing.An administrative law judge in June concluded that Douglas Bruce, the author of the TABOR law, is also behind amendments 60 and 61, and Proposition 101. The judge, Robert Spencer, also found that the putative sponsors of the measure violated Colorado election laws by trying to conceal the identities of those behind the proposals.Arguments for the initiatives can be found online at http://www.cotaxreforms.com, while numerous online resources include arguments against the initiatives, including the Colorado Center on Law & Policy, at http://www.cclponline.org.