Letter: What are the tax outcomes?
Thanks to Bill Grant and to Jane Spaulding for their recent letters in the Sopris Sun and the Post Independent about the dramatic increases in our property taxes.
Here’s my perspective for further consideration: I did not vote for these increases nor will I for the two proposed for Carbondale in the forthcoming election. While I share Bill’s and Jane’s concerns, those are not my primary reasons for voting against these and other recent increases.
My concern is that the increases are not presented in terms of how the most important “outcomes” will be measurably improved as a result. For example, I don’t believe it is sufficient to propose and justify an increase merely because revenue is down or that things will somehow become better as a result. In each case, I want to see what the vital outcomes are for our town, what measurable results have been achieved over the last three to five years, what improvements are planned for the next three to five, and how the increase will enable that improvement.
For clarity, outcomes are not the same as activities; unfortunately, activity is often seen as equated with results. As an example, constructing a new school may be an admirable activity, yet it isn’t an outcome; better education is. Supporting nonprofits with good intentions but lacking measurable results wastes our valuable resources, which can be dedicated to those who are able to factually demonstrate improvements.
Please consider asking the taxing authorities to be accountable for outlining and reporting progress, rather than activities or revenue shortfalls. Take a look at the Roaring Fork School District “State of Our Schools” annual report as an example (http://www.rfsd.k12.co.us/about-us/state-of-our-schools-report.html). Also, expect those authorities to challenge their operating departments and grant recipients to improve and report their performance and set aside the resulting savings to fund demonstrable progress in their worthiest key outcomes. If they can, great. If not, ask them to start measuring and reporting progress and come back later with concrete progress reports and proposals focused on further improvements.
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