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10/24/2013 Investing In Our Future


Local Ballot Issue 4A and State Amendment 66 are both clearly focused on the future.


4A would impose up to a 3 mill property tax increase within the West Custer County Hospital District to provide around a quarter million dollars annually for the operation of our local Ambulance Corps.


For the last year or so, our Medical Clinic suffered severe financial whiplash due to a number of factors. The clinic is back on sound financial footing, but our Ambulance Corps is now in dire economic straits. The mill levy hike will ensure more sound footing. And while no tax increase is pleasant, this one is necessary and deserves the support of voters. In rural counties, ambulance services are supposed to fall under the realm of the county, but our commissioners refuse to get involved. It’s up to the voters to vote yes on 4A to make sure that viable ambulance services are available to the public.


If approved, Amendment 66 will raise some $950 million annually to provide additional funding to public schools.


This educational proposal will inject funds into the state’s 178 school districts, all of which sustained major funding cutbacks since 2007.


The funding will come from modest increases in state income taxes in a logical two-tiered structure. Colorado’s current income tax rate is a flat 4.63 percent; this proposal would increase that rate to an even 5 percent for those making $75,000 or less, and 5.9 percent for those making more than $75,000. The average hit on taxpayers is expected to be about $130 per year.


As a result of the public education funding cutbacks, school districts – ours included – were forced to eliminate staff, cut certain courses, increase class size and make other adjustments. This measure will give our districts much-needed breathing room, and provide a solid financial footing for the future.


Both of these measures should be considered investments for the future well-being of Custer County and Colorado.