Paying taxes to pay taxes

Dear Editor:

Your story about the Colorado Municipal League campaign against three tax relief ballot issues – 60, 61 and 101- missed obvious points (“ACRA board takes stand against tax caps,” Sept. 1, The Aspen Times). The CML is a lobbyist funded by tax dollars given by cities and towns, so our tax dollars are being used to fight tax relief! The website lists the “Opposition Funding” and includes $16,250 from the CML, courtesy of taxpayers funding their own defeat. It also includes CML spending on these statewide tours “since May,” organizing governments to campaign against these issues during work hours and at taxpayer expense.

CML head Sam Mamet falsely said, “Virtually all of [opposition funding] has come from business interests.” Look at their reports. More than $700,000 comes from government unions; is that a “business?” More than 99.9 percent of their donations came in amounts of $5,000 or more from about 100 groups; only 0.1 percent from individuals. Out-of-state and foreign-owned corporations are about 30 percent of those donors. They brag their total is now more than $5 million. Nearly all that money comes from special interest groups that live off taxpayer dollars.

Doubling of car registration fees was just last year, not in 2007. Now that they have it, they won’t give it up without a fight. Their view of taxpayer dollars is, “What ours is ours, what’s yours is negotiable.”

Proposition 101 lowers it from an $81 average to $10 for everyone, which is still 2 1/2 times the $4 the state pays county clerks for the actual processing of the simple renewal form. With 5 millions cars, isn’t $50 million enough to press a “no-change” button on a computer? The reporter omitted that this hike was enacted without voter approval because they called this $250 million tax increase a “fee.”

How can $500 million in annual vehicle ownership taxes be reduced $936 million? Only by swallowing the CML line. How can state revenue go down $1.6 billion, when the 1 percent income tax rate reduction occurs only 0.1 percent per year, and only in those years income tax revenue goes up more than 6 percent? That means there is no year-to-year loss, simply a slower rate of increase. That is not a “cut” except to the CML.

How can school districts say there will be no state replacement of their 10-year property tax relief, then say the (non-existent) replacement will take up most of the state budget? By the way, the allegedly overburdened state “budget” is only 35 percent of total state spending, to make the impact sound bigger. The other 65 percent of their $19.6 billion annual total (up 476 percent since 1984) is “off-budget.”

They claim the income tax relief state analysts say will take 15 to 20 years (because some years won’t see 6 percent revenue increases) will all occur this coming January. How can staff ignore the phase-in and also pretend there will be no state revenue growth for 20 years? They are paid with tax dollars and do the bidding of the politicians who hired them, that’s how. Wait for their bogus Blue Book; you’ll see.

Lamenting the reduction in vehicle taxes is not credible either. We now pay multiple sales taxes to buy a car, a big ownership tax to own it, and high registration “fees” to drive it. That’s a rip-off!

The Bell Policy Center quoted in the story opposes tax relief. They want you to pay more, but they are a nonprofit and don’t pay taxes. Does the word “hypocrite” come to mind?

Mamet wants us to put bureaucrats’ wishes for more pay raises and bigger pensions ahead of our family needs for tax relief. Fat chance. Vote YES on 60, 61 and 101.

Mike Mason



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