Vote “yes” on Colorado Springs Issue 2C, but don’t get confused. Be sure to vote “no” on state Proposition CC. The two have nothing in common.
As Colorado Springs voters fill out their ballots, they see one honest question and one misleading lie.
The lie is Proposition CC, on the ballot with deliberately deceptive language. It asks “without raising taxes” may the state keep the money it owes to taxpayers. Forever. Never again would state politicians need the consent of the governed before keeping revenues that exceed surplus limits established by the state constitution’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
When the government keeps revenues owed to taxpayers, it effectively raises taxes. In this case, it would raise taxes for generations to come. Today’s schoolchildren, indebted to the government by the excesses of older generations, would enjoy none of the constraints on spending the law guaranteed for their parents and grandparents. They would pay more in taxes each time politicians, without consent, keep the money they would otherwise have to return.
The lie doesn’t stop there. The ballot measure says the money would fund “public schools, higher education, and roads, bridges, and transit … ” Voters would be ignorant to believe any word of this promise. State politicians made a similar promise when they conned voters into a temporary timeout from refunds with Referendum C in 2005. Politicians turned it into a shell game, technically using funds for education while simultaneously reducing existing education funds by the same amount. They made voters the butt of a joke, and the public should never forget it.
Colorado Springs Issue 2C is something dramatically different. It asks voters if Colorado Springs city government can extend for another five years a reasonable sales tax that funds road improvements listed in detail on the city’s website. Voters approved 2C in 2015 and enacted a 0.62% tax increase that generated about $50 million a year. The extension request seeks a lower rate of 0.57% because the economy is hot, sales are up, and a lower rate will get the job done.
The first round of 2C money has been used as promised. City officials constantly update the website to give detailed progress reports on 2C projects. Though opponents argue too much money goes for curbs, gutters, and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, those expenses are part of building roads. Roads are not properly sealed and will not last long if connected to aging and crumbling curbs and gutters. When improving curbs and gutters, wheelchair ramps and tactile paving for the visually impaired are federal laws in place for good reasons.
Colorado Springs is particularly blessed with honest and professional leadership in the mayor’s administration and on the City Council. Voters have every good reason to believe an extension of 2C will pay for what is promised, without shell-game shenanigans.
Good roads improve public safety and boost economic development. When Springs voters invest in essential transportation infrastructure, business and military leaders feel more comfortable doing business here. The first round of 2C has proved as much.
We support 2C with only one caveat in the form of a friendly suggestion: enough with the on-street bike lanes. Propose long-term plans to fund dedicated bike paths, with a separate proposal. Let our streets facilitate cars.
Voters need only use common sense on these two ballot tax questions. Hold state politicians accountable for lying about Prop CC and its experimental predecessor, Referendum C. Vote “no” on Prop CC. Meanwhile, reward good city leadership — and enjoy the positive results — by voting “yes” on Issue 2C. It worked well last time. With this round, we will finish the job.