Times article slanted, off base | AspenTimes.com

Times article slanted, off base

Dear Editor:

Tuesday’s unbalanced attack on the three state ballot issues deserves a response (“AVH takes stand against tax-relief measures,” June 16, The Aspen Times).

We regret your reporter did not contact our side before repeating many false statements.

The hospital’s advisor, the Special District Association, takes tax money and spends it on politics. The resolution it promoted has many false claims. There is no loss of “$1 billion annually in state taxes.”

Nice round number, but totally false. The income tax rate reduction of one percentage point takes at least 10 years, it can be only 0.1 percent per year, and it occurs only in years when income tax revenue increases more than 6 percent. The state gets a 6 percent revenue increase before taxpayers get a 0.1 percent rate cut; no revenue reduction is possible. Tiny rate reductions over 10 or more years is hardly a “slash.”

Furthermore, your story said that state reduction came from the local property tax Amendment 60 and the borrowing limit Amendment 61. Neither one lowers state revenue one dollar.

The resolution says school taxes would be cut in half. False. Amendment 60 says state aid must replace 100 percent of the tax relief, again phased in over 10 years, of an amount less than half of school property taxes. Full replacement is also the law now (Amendment 23 and the School Finance Act). Schools will not lose one dollar.

Similarly, the phase down in the vehicle ownership tax over four years will not affect schools. They will get 100 percent state replacement of that revenue as well.

The hospital says there will be no way to repair roads and bridges, but Amendment 61 allows local bonded debt by voter approval. With almost $40 billion in yearly state and local spending, government could also pay cash. They don’t have to borrow money for 30 years to fix potholes, restripe lanes, or pay bureaucrats.

Limiting future government debt to 10 years, not 20 or 30, will save tens of millions in interest costs, which buy nothing. It also curbs the cowardly and immoral practice of overspending, then sending the bill for repayment to our children.

Amendment 61 says, “All current borrowing shall be paid.” Your reporter called that a “suggestion” (?). The hospital says it can’t repay debts overnight. Who asked them to? They just continue their regular payments.

One politicians got it right: “This is going to change the way we do business.” Duh. That’s why people petition government, sir. The status quo of tax-and-borrow-and-spend is no longer acceptable. Let’s make them live on a budget, not a blank check.

Your one-sided article said a broad group of leaders opposes the three issues. Readers should go to our website, cotaxreforms.com, and see the opposition funding of $1 million, 99.8 percent from special interest groups, many out of state, and only 0.2 percent from individuals. See also the link, Fibs by Foes, detailing 14 falsehoods from our opponents. Had your reporter bothered to contact us, or visited that website, she could have written a balanced story.

Natalie Menten

campaign coordinator

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