Twelve false claims about 2A

Let me correct 12 false claims made by 2A promoters:

1) Yes, prior councils cynically ignored drainage projects. Why? To create a “crisis” to force a tax increase. They want another $17 million yearly to reward them for betraying us, but even this is NOT for drainage.

2) Council gives developers anything they want. Why? Campaign 
donations. 2A exempts developers causing this problem from paying on their undeveloped land.

3) When the Council imposed $49.2 million in fees, or what I call “rain taxes” (2007-09), they bought shiny new trucks and paid full-time employees to answer the phone. (P.S. City Hall never refunded that $49.2 million to citizens, though I think that would have been the fair thing to do.)

4) Mayor John Suthers admits 2A adds ZERO to drainage spending; it’s for City Hall pay, pensions, perks, etc. It’s ballot fraud to distract you. It says nothing about police; that’s a verbal political promise. We call it “bait and switch” or “shift and shaft.” Ask millions for drainage. Lament floods. Fool voters. Take money. Spend elsewhere. Repeat.

5) Three Council members — Knight, Murray and Pico — oppose 2A. All are on the Finance Committee and know the city’s budget well. Suthers says 2A will buy police, but his 2018 budget hires 19 positions — not one cop.

6) This year’s nearly 6 percent increase in general fund spending — $16.3 million — is more than 2.5 times last year’s increase. Total city spending is nearly $500 million yearly. The mayor took three revenue increases in his first two years in office (voter-approved money for roads and overages from the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, and a franchise fee for the city’s cable contract). He won’t stop until we say “NO.”

7) City Hall told voters in 2001 it needed $27 million in yearly increases for police and fire (the Public Safety Sales Tax). Two months after 9/11, voters agreed. City Hall swore it solved funding forever, and would improve response times. Police response times are now over 11 minutes. Suthers promises to return it to eight minutes IF we pass 2A. Really?

8) City Hall stuck us in April 2016 with $460 million in a drainage commitment, not to benefit us, but to appease Pueblo County. Issue 2A pays that money to Pueblo, promised without voter approval. The city says they have to pay that money to satisfy a lawsuit from the EPA, but the EPA’s new head, who sued the EPA as an attorney general, is now canceling the EPA’s past lawsuit excesses.

9) 2A is illegal and unfair. Seniors in a 500-square-foot high-rise studio pay the same $60 as a campaign donor’s 10,000-square-foot mansion with a tennis court in the Broadmoor neighborhood. City Hall tossed the old rule — paying a service fee based on your impact on runoff. Now it’s a flat amount on real estate, not based on valuation. If this were properly labeled as what it really seems to be — a property tax — that would be illegal. IT WOULD ALSO REPRESENT AN 85 PERCENT INCREASE IN CITY PROPERTY TAX REVENUE, an unheard of amount!

10) Suthers and the Gazette scare voters with one sewage overflow story in 1999. Sewage isn’t rain water, and 2A is really for pay and pensions for city staff. I believe this should be labeled a tax, and thus election notices, with arguments for and against the measure, should be mailed to voters as required by law. By calling it a fee, the city doesn’t have to send you those mailers.

11) We’re told to pay because “everyone’s doing it.” Did your children make that excuse for their bad behavior? When silo taxes are included, we now have the highest total big city sales tax rate in Colorado — 8.25 percent. Reject your $60 yearly tax, which could increase after the election without voter approval; see the ballot authorization. In his last job, Suthers’ budget grew by 46 percent over a decade. (Editor’s note: The attorney general office’s budget is largely driven by state agency demands.)

12) If it’s a “fee” and not a tax, why ask voters? City Hall insists it can force it on us, so “it’s useless to resist.” They misjudge us. We honor as heroes those who resist bullies, in peace and war. We also respect whistle blowers reporting scandals. Now Grandma needs our help.

Who sent those slick postcards, radio and TV ads? Special interests brag they will spend $500,000 to buy this election. Why?

Get more facts at NoRainTax.net, springstaxpayers.com, and NoOn2A.com. Call me at 538-4458 to volunteer four hours to distribute flyers. Freedom is the right to say “NO” to Big Government. Vote “NO” on 2A!

Helen Collins is a former City Council member.