Independent Voices |

Independent Voices

A contractor has good jobs going, subcontracts to his buddies, throws big parties, and buys new, expensive equipment. Then a few things go sour here and there, and suddenly he can’t make payroll. So he visits the pawn shop with his fancy tools, eroding his ability to work.

Now our state leaders are on their way to the pawn shop, having been neither responsible nor trustworthy. Keep the buildings and throw the rascals out. The only answer is to cast a good vote next time.

Scenario One: If those government buildings are empty or under-utilized, sell them and get them back on the tax rolls.

Scenario Two: If an existing debt on those buildings can be refinanced at a significantly lower rate without increasing the debt, do so.

Scenario Three: If this is just one more way of mortgaging our future while avoiding our current financial reality, I have to vote no – it’s time to suck it up and live like fiscal adults. Just because deficit spending is again the federal fashion rage, we don’t have to fall for it at the state level. Or the local level, either.

I do not support our legislators’ attempt to balance the budget by selling publicly owned buildings. Senate Bill 342 would allow the state to sell up to $160 million in state buildings, then lease or repurchase them back. This idea does not make sound, long-term economic sense to me.

I prefer the governor’s recommendation of a reduction in spending by 10 percent by all eligible departments. If legislators are allowed to “sell off” public buildings in order to satisfy their spending habits, will the sale of state lands be next?

I need more information before I can make an “educated” response. Some of the questions that I need answers for are:

Are we just robbing Peter to pay Paul? Meaning, will the state be just generating more revenue today to only cost the state more in the future?

Does the state need these properties to conduct business today or in the future? And if so, will it cost the state more in rental fees if they are sold?

Finally, does anyone know the real answers to these questions?

The May 8 Post Independent editorial said it best in describing the Colorado lawmakers’ frantic thoughts of becoming “some kind of pawnshop patron.”

The lawmakers should be just as eager to “right Colorado’s listing budgetary ship” as they are to redistrict the state. I am reminded again that elected officials deem getting re-elected as their paramount priority.

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