In response to Kent Jolly’s letter to the editor, I would like to clarify my vote on whether or not Garfield County should oppose Initiative 113. The point I made at our county commission meeting was that the motion made by Larry McCown (supported by John Martin) to oppose this initiative was based on a single analysis from Club 20. In my view, recently Club 20 has not demonstrated a very objective approach to determining what position to take on oil and gas legislation, rulemaking or the various proposed initiatives. Thus, it was my suggestion that, before we took a position as a county commission, we spend time looking at all other analyses conducted on this initiative.
I plan on taking the time to read all of the materials presented, understand all implications, consequences and potential unintended consequences, and then make a determination on whether or not I believe this initiative is in the best interest of Garfield County and whether as a Garfield County Commissioner I can support Initiative 113.
The governor has not requested my support on this initiative, and this discussion has nothing to do with my appointment to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). The legislation establishing the COGCC requires that one of its members be a local governmental official. Rather than conflicting with my role as a county commissioner, I was appointed to the COGCC precisely because I am a county commissioner. My appointment to the COGCC enhances my ability to serve Garfield County on oil and gas development, which is a very important economic, land use and public health, safety and welfare concern in Garfield County.
Garfield County Commissioner
As the person who wrote the protocols for auditing the severance taxes under Governor Owens’ administration and having the privilege of reviewing the current initiative language, I would like to point out some facts about the ballot initiative that we will be asked to vote on in November.
Severance taxes are a complicated issue, but they are needed to help provide a source of revenue to accommodate the impacts of oil and gas development and a savings plan for the future when the nonrenewable energy is gone. It is true that local communities are allocated 50 percent of the severance tax today, but because of the special tax credits that only Colorado nationally gives to the industry, the effective tax rate is only 1.9 percent as researched by our legislative council and state auditors.
Fifty percent of 1.9 percent is .0095. The initiative will eliminate this special tax credit to the industry, thus raising the rate to 5 percent. Twenty-two percent of 5 percent is .011. This is a larger number allocated back to local communities.
In addition, small local royalty owners will be exempt from the tax, local students will have scholarships available to them, additional dollars for water projects will be available and we will be guaranteed dollars for much-needed road repairs that cannot be diverted to front-range projects at the whim of the administration.
Finally, the elimination of the special tax credits to the oil and gas industry will also allow our state the privilege of setting up a savings account for the future, when the supply and income is gone.
Is it time for Colorado to reap the benefits of the energy produced here and sent to other parts of the U.S., like Wyoming, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Alaska have done for so many years?
Only your vote can answer this.
Mary Ellen Denomy, CPA, APA, CMM, CFD, CFFA
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The Glenwood Springs City Council voted to extend the existing face covering mandate for indoor public-facing spaces within city limits during Thursday night’s meeting.