Jim Hoffman
Free Press Opinion Columnist

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March 7, 2013
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HOFFMAN: Ref. B begs the question: Why do we have TABOR?

If you are a registered City of Grand Junction voter, your recent mail included a notice of the upcoming April 2 election as it relates to Referred Measure B.

As a reminder this is the request from the City Council to keep any funds in excess of limits imposed by the TABOR amendment. They wish to keep the money and apply it to specific infrastructure improvements, which they lead us to believe cannot otherwise be accomplished.

As a skeptic I would point out we have been told previously that the library, police station, and fire department could not be accomplished without a self-imposed tax increase. All were accomplished or are in the process of being completed. These facts should be sufficient to make current claims dubious.

OK, the mailer points out this is not a tax increase so maybe some would challenge the direct comparison to the above projects. Regardless of tax increase or no tax increase, it has to do with a request that we provide them additional funds for specific purposes.

As per usual we are told there are no available funds to satisfy their needs. Cynically, we may think that if we let them have these monies, it will merely allow them more to waste on otherwise questionable projects. The mailer includes a summary of written comments FOR Referred Measure B. There is no summary of written comments AGAINST Referred Measure B since 100% of Grand Junction citizens opposed to the Measure failed to file any comment "by the constitutional deadline."

Since there is no apparent opposition, let us review the comments in favor of Referred Measure B.

• "We need to keep our tax dollars local - 40% of possible refund would go to non-locals."

Actually, City Council will determine precisely how refunds shall be made. Let us insist they refund overpayments in a manner that returns the maximum amount to local taxpayers.

• "We need to invest in the economic future of the City."

Of course, we need to invest in our City but does that truism impact this discussion?

• "Each $1 in capital investment in our community generates an estimated $1.75 in jobs, wages and spending."

One is always amazed when driving by these civic improvement projects at the number of jobs being completed by out-of-town workers and contractors who take their wages and profits out of town and out of Mesa County.

• "This is not a new tax and there is no new debt proposed."

While technically true, if you allow the City to keep taxes you have paid above and beyond those due, are you not increasing your taxes? It is equal to allowing the IRS to keep your tax refund and at the same time claim you have not paid more taxes.

• "This is not a repeal or permanent change of TABOR."

Why not? All local politicians fear political suicide should they dare propose a "permanent change of TABOR" and yet, do not fail to request an override of its provisions seemingly every time it accomplishes what it was intended to accomplish, i.e. limit the amount of funds available to a bloated government bureaucracy.

Maybe it is time for them to acknowledge the obvious; they really do not support TABOR but only support the small government sound bites it creates.

These thoughts are not presented as absolutes. They are presented to encourage you to look more closely at Measure B, look at how City funds (that maybe could have been available for these projects) have been spent, and ask your own questions and determine your path on this issue.

In last week's column, Duncan McArthur was incorrectly identified as working in the employ of the GJ Chamber of Commerce. Inaccurate sourcing misidentified his second employer. Mr. McArthur actually works for the Board of Realtors and the Western Colorado Contractors Association.


Jim Hoffman is a local Realtor and investor who, when not working, loves skiing, camping and fishing (in season). He may be reached at freepressjim@gmail.com.

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The Post Independent Updated Mar 7, 2013 06:56PM Published Mar 7, 2013 12:48PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.