SpringsTaxpayers.com took on a big challenge this year. We knew that we were facing an, “uphill both ways in the snow” battle, as we opposed the renewal of ballot issue 2C, AKA “the Pothole Tax.”
Although we were significantly underfunded compared to the “Yes on 2C” group, we stepped up to that challenge and gave it our best shot. Thanks to those of you who pitched in money to help with our radio and digital ads.
Issue 2C passed in early November, and the citizens of Colorado Springs —plus anyone who spends money within the City limits— will continue to pay the sales tax until the end of 2025. The money is supposed to repair roads, make curbs and gutters ADA compliant, and replace sidewalks. Be prepared for additional road dieting during road repairs, as bike lane implementation will progress throughout Colorado Springs, concurrent with 2C taxpayer-funded projects. Make no mistake, this will mean fewer lanes for cars.
We’re bracing ourselves for many other wasteful spending projects, too. There is money in the City’s budget, but roads are not a spending priority for the City administration. We ask only that the City properly prioritize roads, bridges, and public safety. Then it can make decisions on what happens with the balance of the budget. Crying poor is a way to prod taxpayers into parting with more of their tax dollars.
Were voters interested in continuing the pothole tax, or might they have been tricked in to voting for 2C?
At SpringsTaxpayers.com, we found the 2C ballot language to be intentionally misleading. Do you think some citizens might have been fooled due to the ballot language? We believe people were misled into thinking 2C was a tax cut.
Here is the language:
“Without imposing any new tax or increasing the rate of any existing tax, shall the existing temporary sales tax and use tax authorized exclusively for road repairs and improvements, at a rate reduced from 0.62% (6.2 pennies on $10 purchase) to 0.57% (5.7 pennies on $10 purchase), be extended for a five-year period after its current expiration on December 31, 2020 to and until December 31, 2025, with all revenues derived therefrom to be placed in a dedicated fund to be expended only upon road repairs and improvements within the city, including residential streets, park and city golf course access roads and cemetery roads, and road reconstruction where severe deterioration does not allow repair, as a voter approved revenue change and exception to revenue, spending and other limitations which would otherwise apply under section 7-90 of the city charter, Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution, city ordinances, or any other law?”
Might some voters have thought that a “yes” vote meant the tax would be reduced from .62 to .57, and a “no” vote would have kept it at .62? We think that’s likely. We’re old enough to remember when misleading ballot language about term limits for the El Paso County Commissioners in 2012 caused it to go back to the ballot with clear language.
Building COS, the group funding the “Yes on 2C” campaign, outspent us 27 to 1. They raised $217,000. At SpringsTaxpayers.com, we raised a little more than $8,000.
Since we were significantly outspent on 2C, we wondered who funded Building COS. Many out-of-town businesses dug deep into their pockets to support the passage of the Pothole Tax. Do some of these businesses have something to gain? You bet they do. Those businesses include a work zone traffic control company, asphalt companies, and other companies that supply materials or equipment for paving projects. These companies are in Pueblo, Lakewood, and even Omaha, just to name a few.
We find it terribly ironic (and even amusing!) that Mayor Suthers recently criticized SpringsTaxpayers.com’s own Laura Carno for opposing this tax, and disparaged her involvement in the issue, as she lives outside the Colorado Springs city limits. Remember that anyone shopping in the city limits pays the tax, not just those who live within the city limits.
Yet, Building COS sought out sizable donations from out-of-town businesses who wanted to convince Colorado Springs citizens to pass this tax. The Mayor must think that out of town involvement is only allowed when someone writes a check to promote a tax that he wants passed.
The bottom line: We will win some and we will lose some. We’re pleased we brought some attention to the road dieting of our streets. We’ll stay alert and keep you posted on other developments.
We’ll keep fighting for you, Colorado Springs.