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It’s important to separate the wheat from the chaff with regard to Silt’s redevelopment plans in its downtown corridor. The town of Silt has designated certain properties as “blighted” through legal but unconstitutional (I’m talking U.S. Constitution here) ways in order to bring in economic development to their area.

First of all, let’s name it and claim the truth here. This is public money making this happen. Down the road there may be money coming into the town’s empty coffers from sales tax from the planned grocery store and bank. But for now it’s the government dole and a nifty takeover of property taxes through a sleight-of hand machination that uses “blight” designation to downgrade property.

This action will nail down a lower tax value in the process, then take the remainder, leaving the town with a reduced property tax base, while the new Urban Renewal Authority (URA) gains from those unearned property taxes.



Of course the URA doesn’t raise property taxes. It does not have the right to raise property taxes yet. There’s a lot of bragging about TIF in the papers. That’s tax increment financing. The insidious undertow of devastation to the communities it purports to be helping is nothing short of a crafty ruse.

That ruse was not only uncovered, but the rest of its apparatus has been been exposed and its power diminished in California, for instance.



A December 2011 ruling by the Supreme Court of California dealt a death blow to redevelopment agencies across the state that amassed billions of dollars of TIF funds over a number of years, indiscriminately using “blight” and eminent domain to achieve their goals; hurting the very citizens and towns they promised to help.

More than 400 redevelopment agencies were abolished across the state in an effort to aid suffering communities and private property owners with the restoration of their constitutional rights. We need to do what we can to oppose this action in our communities.

Why don’t those banks and stores come to town with their own money if it’s such a hot prospect?

Karen Foster

Glenwood Springs

It appears state Rep. Laura Bradford took public relation lessons from the same person who coached Kathy Hall during her frac fluid fracas just three short years ago.

In both instances, the women made far more publicity and problems for themselves by refusing to tuck their tails between their legs and apologize – you know, what everyday citizens are expected to do. It’s unfortunate that both women, who are intelligent and talented, have made a mockery of their legacies by these antics.

I used to have a lot of respect for Laura Bradford. She was the only person who had the wherewithal to go against a well-loved incumbent. During her tenure in office, she’s proven to be politically savvy and protective of Western Slope values.

But instead of doing the right thing and admitting she drove drunk, invoked a little known rule, and got off scot-free, she’s now trying to paint the Speaker of the House’s recent announcement of an ethics panel regarding her actions as “political.”

What does Republican Frank McNulty gain politically by bringing up Rep. Bradford on ethics charges? The only one who is making this political is Bradford.

Just as Ms. Hall tried to bolster that “someone had dubbed her voice” in response to the frac comment instead of just saying she made an off-color joke that didn’t translate, Ms. Bradford is trying to say that “it’s political” because she chose to drink excessively and then operate a vehicle.

While Ms. Hall’s comments live on in infamy, Rep. Bradford has the opportunity to save face. And that starts by issuing a real apology, sitting down, shutting up and getting back to work. I hope for the sake of the Western Slope, she listens.

Meghan Lehr

Grand Junction

Editor’s note: The Denver Police Department has stated that Rep. Bradford did not try to invoke the legislative immunity provision in state law, and that she asked to be treated just like any other driver.

The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living. Government has become its own special interest group. It’s exploding.

In the past 10 years, private sector employment has grown only 1 percent, while government employment has expanded 15 percent.

When this recession started, the Department of Transportation had one employee making more than $170,000 a year. Now there are 1,690 DOT employees making more than $170,000 a year.

The Department of Defense had 1,868 government employees paid over $150,000. Today that number is 10,100.

When the current recession started, the number of government employees making over $100,000 a year doubled in less than two years.

In 2009, the average private sector employee made $61,051a year including benefits, while the average government employee made $123,049 – more than double the private sector.

Now for the important part. There are approximately 21 million government employees that make up 16 percent of the voting electorate. Each of these government employees has a “special other” in their lives who will vote with them to keep their jobs and benefits.

So that means at present, 32 percent will vote openly against spending cuts. Whenever the voting number reaches 50 percent, the game is over. Then we the people will be in the minority. And there lies the danger in big government.

Do you get the big picture of establishing a permanent socialist society? Obama and his kind will then control America. That’s their goal. Say “goodbye” to liberty, say “hello” to tyranny.

That’s not the way our country is supposed to work. What do you think life will be like? We’ll be called the United States of Socialist America or the USSA. Just like Russia.

My fellow Glenwoodians, please get yourselves educated while you still have a choice. Do you want to live in an entitlement society, or a society where opportunity abounds and your kids have freedom of choice? Wake up before we all become slaves to overwhelming big government.

Stan Rachesky

Glenwood Springs

Silt’s Urban Renewal Authority continues to receive incredibly intense scrutiny.

Silt is neither the first town in Colorado to form a URA nor even the first in our area. Rifle formed a URA in 2007. Avon and Delta formed authorities. Nearly every community in the state that has engaged in urban improvement or economic development has formed a URA.

Properties in blighted areas can meet one or multiple criteria.

To qualify for eminent domain, it must meet a minimum of five criteria. The town of Silt has only three properties meeting five or more criteria. Eminent domain, therefore, is not a possibility for the vast majority of the blighted area.

In Rifle, areas in and around the downtown fall within the blighted area.

The criteria for blight are broad. They are designed to help a community improve areas that don’t have complete or adequate development by providing a box of economic tools that encourage development. Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is the main and most effective tool.

I do not regard a URA as a “liberal” or “conservative” idea. To me, it is ideologically neutral.

There are no new tax levies on any property. Taxing entities receive what they have historically received. The taxes associated with the increased value flow to the URA to pay for the improvements. Once the URA pays for the improvements, the other taxing districts begin receiving the additional taxes associated with the increased value.

This is a win-win situation for all entities.

The taxing districts continue receiving their baseline tax collections, and the community obtains a valuable improvement it might not otherwise have obtained. When the URA completes its TIF debt-service, other taxing entities begin receiving the taxes associated with the higher value – a value that would not exist except for the assistance of the URA and the TIF.

The county did not give money to our URA or for economic development, as stated in Wednesday’s paper. They set aside money for infrastructure improvements, just as they did in Rifle and Parachute. Those improvements may or may not be associated with a URA project.

Richard Aluise

Silt

I so enjoyed Craig Chisesi’s “What if” game in the Post Independent on Feb. 1 that I thought it would be fun to play another round. Here goes.

What if President Obama had not increased the federal debt by almost $5 trillion in three years to almost $15 trillion? Would he still have to ask for another $1.6 trillion increase in the debt ceiling?

What if the Democrat-controlled Senate had passed a budget in the last 1,007 days? Would the mainstream media report that, since they have been totally silent about the lack of a budget?

What if Obama had cut the deficit in half like he promised in his 2009 State of the Union address? Would we be facing over $1 trillion in deficits every year for the next 10 years, according to the CBO?

What if Obama had lifted the drilling moratoriums around the nation he put in place after the BP accident in the Gulf? Would gasoline still be double what it was when he took office?

What if lifting those moratoriums had put over 200,000 people in the Gulf area back to work? Would unemployment still be above 8 percent?

What if Obama had not shot down the Keystone XL pipeline? Would there be another 100,000-plus new jobs opening up without spending a dime of taxpayer money?

What if Obama had not bailed out GM and given it to the unions? Would the taxpayers still be out billions of dollars of their money?

What if Warren Buffet and all the millionaires paid a 30 percent tax on their capital gains? Would the $36 billion raised by that fact mean a hill of beans to our federal debt?

What if solar company Solyndra had not received half a billion of taxpayer money? Would they not have planned to pay their top executives bonuses of $500,000 before they went bankrupt?

What if Obama had not been elected to the White House? Would the country’s voters be so intent on getting him out of the White House in November?

It is fun, huh?

Bob Anderson

Glenwood Springs


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