My tax rant
I’m fed up with taxes. We pay taxes on our paychecks, we pay sales taxes when we buy food, clothing, gasoline, our utility bills (all of which is double taxation), and we pay taxes when we die. Then it costs us to hire an accountant to figure out how much tax we have to pay. Ever since President Reagan, presidential candidates have promised some version of the flat tax, but lobbyists will never let that happen.
It wouldn’t bother me as much to pay taxes if I believed government spent it wisely. Instead of rebuilding infrastructure and schools in the U.S., they use our money to build infrastructure and schools in Iraq.
On the subject of taxes closer to home, have you ever noticed that Colorado Mountain College (CMC) gets twice as much of our property tax mill levy as the hospital and the fire department combined? A county commissioner told me the proportion is state- mandated. Soon, the county will ask to increase taxes for local infrastructure and a bigger downtown office building. I’m getting fed up again. Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) and the Roaring Fork Transit Authority (RFTA) need more money, and our schools, fire department and water department recently asked the voters for additional funding.
While CMC certainly provides value to our community, I would say they benefit a smaller proportion of our community than the fire department, the hospital, ambulances, public schools, libraries, seniors, roads, rivers, trails, sanitation and historic preservation. CMC also mingles Pitkin County tax revenue with other branches of their colleges not located in Pitkin County. I’m not against subsidizing higher education, but in the present fiscal environment, the proportions should be reconsidered.
All county services are having to grow to meet the needs of our growing communities and are going to raise taxes or ask for bond initiatives. Our state representatives should rebalance our property taxes to assure that each county service receives a reasonable proportion based on the service’s needs to meet growth. I’d like to see our local money spent wisely.
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A driver looking to squeeze one last four-wheel drive up Aspen Mountain discovered that it’s not the ascent but the decent that poses a challenge.