George Newman: Guest opinion | AspenTimes.com

George Newman: Guest opinion

George NewmanSpecial to The Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

Your vote in this November’s general election is critical for the future economic sustainability of our state. All of our essential services – from state government to counties and municipalities, along with schools, fire districts, hospitals, law enforcement and first responders, public transportation, roads and bridges, water and sanitation districts and every other provider we take for granted and would be at a loss without – are in jeopardy because of Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and Amendment 61. These ballot questions are draconian measures put forth by unidentified anti-tax proponents with unnamed sources of funding, and will have the exact opposite effect of what they propose: • They will reduce our state budget (already in a crisis mode) by more than $1 billion.• They will force dramatic and unsustainable cuts throughout all sectors of our public organizations and institutions. • They will override previously approved decisions by local voters on how we raise and spend money.• They will result in the loss of local control over fiscal decisions, allowing property owners to vote in local elections regardless of their residency. (Even those who are not U.S. citizens, as well as fractional-share owners, may be granted voting rights.) • They will negatively impact your family, your business, your community. While government and the above service organizations will continue to operate, the delivery and timeliness of services will, of necessity, be at a substantially reduced level. The inability to bond long term (more than 10 years) for capital improvements, infrastructures and equipment for our hospitals, our fire stations, our schools, our public transportation services, our open space and trails, parks and recreation, to name the most obvious, will severely impact the quality of life for each and every one of us. Colorado touts itself as a leader in the new green economy. But just think: With the potential loss of more than 70,000 service jobs statewide, what companies would relocate or start up a business in an environment where schools are struggling to keep their doors open, even with larger class sizes? Or, where our interstate and local roads and bridges are failing, our homeless population is growing and our health and human services are declining? In short, where the health, welfare and safety of our citizens will be so severely impacted? Local decisions should be made by the local community, not by someone from who knows where. For this reason, the Pitkin County commissioners have passed a resolution opposing these statewide ballot questions. Similar resolutions have been or will be passed by our neighboring municipalities, counties, local school boards, hospitals, fire and rescue and other organizations concerned about the future of our great state.Don’t be fooled that by lowering taxes “all will be right with the world.” In fact, the problems we face today under our current economic climate will be exacerbated. Unemployment, as well as underemployment, is already at a statewide high. Across the state, community parks and recreation areas are closing down and/or no longer being watered or maintained. Streetlights have been turned off in metropolitan areas; potholes are increasing. The effects of the economic downturn are widespread already. If passed, these ballot issues will turn our communities upside down!Please vote NO on Proposition 101, NO on Amendment 60 and NO Amendment 61, and encourage others to do the same!

George Newman is chairman of the Pitkin County Board of County Commissioners.

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