Page 12 the carbOn Valley herald OctOber 9, 2008
Amendment 51: State Sales Tax Increase for
Services for People with Developmental Disabilities
By Jen Reeder million annually after full measure for long-term services Rymer pointed out that
firstname.lastname@example.org implementation by an amendment for persons with developmental Coloradans do not pay sales tax
to the Colorado revised statutes disabilities?” on necessities like groceries, gas,
Amendment 51 proposes an concerning an increase in the utilities, prescription drugs or
amendment to the Colorado state sales and use tax to provide The case for: medical services.
statutes – not the constitution funding for long-term services “The motivation behind “For the things that we basically
– that would add a sales tax to for persons with developmental Amendment 51 is the potential need to live, there’s no (tax)
pay for services for people with disabilities, and, in connection crisis because of the waiting increase,” she said. “We’re asking
developmental disabilities and to therewith, increasing the rate list for services for people with voters to raise their taxes a very
help eliminate the waiting lists of the state sales and use tax developmental disabilities, that little bit – 2 cents on $10.”
for services. The increase would beginning on July 1, 2009, by includes people who have a Rymer said that the measure is
raise the state sales and use tax one-tenth of one percent in diagnosis of mental retardation, worded so that the money raised
from its current 2.9 percent to 3 each of the next two fiscal years; cerebral palsy, autism, Down would be dedicated to providing
percent on July 1, 2009, and from permitting the state to retain syndrome and other chromosomal services to people with disabilities,
3 percent to 3.1 percent on July 1, and spend all revenues from the disorders,” said Marijo Rymer, rather than administration.
2010. Therefore, after two years of new tax, notwithstanding the executive director of Arc of “It’s directly to serve people,” she
implementation, a person making state spending limit; requiring an Colorado, a nonprofit organization said.
a $10 purchase would pay 2 cents amount equal to the net revenue dedicated to advocacy for people There is a bipartisan effort to
of tax for this initiative. from the new tax to be deposited in with developmental disabilities. pass Amendment 51, she said,
It is estimated that the measure the newly created developmental Rymer said there are at least and former First Lady Frances
would raise approximately disabilities long-term services 12,400 people in Colorado who are Owens is the honorary chair
$89 million for people with cash fund; requiring the money eligible for services but are on the of the campaign. Numerous
developmental disabilities such in the fund to be used to provide waitlist, which can take 10 or 15 organizations have joined the
as autism, Down syndrome, and long-term services for persons years. There are currently about coalition to pass the initiative,
cerebral palsy in the first year of with developmental disabilities; 11,500 people in Colorado who do including churches, the Colorado
the tax increase and $186 million and prohibiting reductions in the receive services, she said. Nurses’ Association and Foster
in the second. level of state appropriations in the “As our state grows, as services Care and Adoption Agencies of
The ballot question is: “Shall annual general appropriation bill and resources are more and more Colorado.
state taxes be increased $186.1 existing on the effective date of this compressed, the waiting list grows “These people are our neighbors
because we have not been able and our kids,” Rymer said. “We
even remotely to keep up with the can’t wait.”
demand,” Rymer said.
Services for children include For more information, visit
speech and language therapy, www.EndColoradoWaitlist.org.
nursing services and feeding
tube management. Services for The case against:
adults include transportation, job State Rep. Douglas Bruce,
training and employment. Some the author of TABOR, opposes
people require comprehensive Amendment 51 because he opposes
24/7 services to avoid raising taxes.
institutionalization. “We have the three largest state
“That’s even a bigger problem tax hikes in history on the ballot:
now because there are no real 51, 58 and 59. (Amendment) 51
institutional services in the state doesn’t have vocal opposition
to begin with,” Rymer said, noting because people are afraid of
that there is an admissions freeze looking mean,” Bruce said.
at the state-run regional centers “They’re trying to slip this through
for emergency cases in Pueblo, by laying a guilt trip on people.”
Grand Junction and Wheat Ridge. He said there are numerous
Another part of the problem is diseases, and wondered if all of
the “disaster waiting to happen” them should also be funded by
because of the over 9,000 children taxes.
and adults with developmental “Cancer’s bad, should we have a
disabilities who are living with cancer tax? This is earmarking an
caregivers over the age of 60. illness,” Bruce said.
“We get calls constantly from The state budget has increased
people who say things like, ‘I’m 426 percent since 1984, Bruce said,
83 years old and my son is 60 – I citing his frustration that so much
don’t know what I’m going to do,’” revenue isn’t considered sufficient.
Rymer said. “There’s no safety net “It’s never enough for socialists.
for those people. It doesn’t exist.” They always say, ‘This is for the
She added that getting people children’ or ‘This is for people with
eligible for services off the waitlist mental problems.’ It is dangerous
would allow the caregivers to work and insidious to allow a private
full-time; often they are under- or corporation to try to buy a ballot
unemployed because they need to issue that will give them over $100
be at home to care for their loved million a year,” Bruce said.
ones. He charged that passing
“So there are economic benefits Amendment 51 would further
to the state as well,” she said. (51, page 14)
Page 14 the carbOn Valley herald OctOber 9, 2008
Fire board supports mill levy increase
By Mountain View Fire District personnel to ensure a nationally- If approved, the funds will it is still my duty to ensure the
recognized safe staffing level for its hire additional firefighters to safety of my firefighters as much
Mountain View Fire District’s fire trucks. meet National Safety Standards, as practically possible. Study after
board of directors has adopted a Mountain View points out that purchase additional lifesaving study – including National Fire
resolution that will ask voters to they have not had a mill levy medical and rescue equipment, Protection Association (NFPA)
approve a mill levy increase in the increase in 17 years and has asked provide necessary improvements standards – affirms a safe staffing
general election to be held Nov. 4. twice in the past few years – both to reduce response times and level to be no fewer than four
The ballot question will ask times the provide firefighters per fire truck. Our
voters for 3.93 mills and equates measure was additional current staffing of two firefighters
to $3,347,245 annually in the defeated. revenue per truck is both inadequate and
first full fiscal year. The new mill “Opponents to meet dangerous.”
levy, if approved, would be 11.747 of this increasing Templeton said that the status
mills, increased from the District’s increase vehicle quo is not acceptable – given the
current 7.817 mills. may assert maintenance safety studies conducted by the
A 3.93 mill equates to that even if costs. United States Fire Administration
approximately $6.55 a month or needed this Mountain and others – and changes will have
$78.60 per year for a home with an is not the View Fire to be made to increase staffing.
assessed value of $200,000; and time, given Chief Randy “Without the funds to hire more
$9.83 month or $117.90 per year the economy. Templeton firefighters to ensure safe staffing,
for a home with an assessed value Certainly, said that we will have to examine taking
of $300,000. we are neither insensitive to, nor changes must be made whether the some fire trucks and stations out
The district has determined are we immune to the effects of measure passes or fails. of service, and redistributing the
that a tax increase is required a slowed economy and increased “The public has the absolute personnel,” Templeton said.
to offset the increasing costs of costs. But, the last two times the right to choose the level of service He and Hodgson caution that
fire protection due to rapidly district has proposed an increase, they want, whether fire protection response times will likely increase
increasing operational costs the economy was in good to very or emergency medical response. beyond its current level of 7
and will enable the district to good shape. We hope the voters They will indicate that level by minutes 37 seconds – almost twice
effectively meet the increasing recognize the district’s need and their vote. If voters approve the NFPA recommended response
demands resulting from a 79 share our optimism that any the measure, we will be able to time.
percent increase in population and current economic slowdown is improve and provide the services “At this point, as fire chief, I
more-than-double emergency call temporary, and that investing in that we, in our professional cannot advocate for or against the
volume within the district since its safety services is the right thing judgment, believe they deserve,” mill levy increase, but it is my duty
last mill levy increase. It will also to,” said District Spokesman Jesse Templeton said. to report the facts as I understand
allow the district to hire enough Hodgson. “But, if (the mill levy) is defeated, them,” Templeton said.
Ken Buck pledges to continue the war on crime Amendment 51
(51, from page 12)
(Buck, from page 13) and off of Weld County’s streets. to address the underlying issues
causing the criminal actions of the accelerate the downturn in the
Office where he was the chief of “Fighting for justice in the
economy, and that “their numbers
the criminal division. courtroom is only one part of the defendant.
are fraudulent.” He said some
He has also served as an battle against crime. This office, “Financial crimes are also an
figures are based on a family
instructor at the University in an ongoing effort to promote area of concern as our county
of three (the legislature’s voter
of Denver Law School and public safety, has provided deals with fast-paced growth and
guide states that a three-person
the National Institute of Trial presentations to more than 8,000 an unusually high foreclosure
household with around $55,000
Advocacy. He was elected Weld people in Weld County. Whether rate. The White Collar Crime in annual income is estimated to
County DA in 2004. speaking to the community about Task Force, a collaborative pay an additional $20 in state sales
Buck’s favorite book is “Under identity theft or senior fraud, we effort between the DA’s Office taxes in the first year of the increase
God: George Washington and the know that information sharing and area banks, has resulted in and $40 in subsequent years), but
Questions of Church and State” by is a valuable crime-fighting tool cumulative sentences of more “babies don’t pay sales tax.”
Tara Ross and Joseph Smith, his that helps maintain a valuable than 21 years in prison, 94 years He also said that the tax is
favorite movie is “Gladiator” and bridge between this office and our of probation and more than $2 promoted as a penny on $5, but
he enjoys Toby Keith’s music. community. million in restitution to victims. because cash registers don’t
“For the past three years, I have “To truly initiate lasting change, The partnership has proven to be recognize percentages of a penny
been proud to lead the dedicated however, we must find innovative, a success for county businesses and instead round up to a whole
men and women at the District collaborative and cost-effective and has resulted in a safer place number, it’s a penny on $2.50.
Attorney’s Office in the pursuit solutions to the problems we face for consumers. “You can’t collect a half a penny at
of justice. We have built many in Weld County including drug “I have also worked closely with the cash register,” Bruce said.
bridges, made many friends use and financial crimes. our Congressional delegation and If Amendment 51 were to pass, he
and earned much respect as we “In 2006, this office along with county commissioners to raise said there is no guarantee that the
work together to achieve the the Weld County Jail, Probation, more than $1 million in federal, money would go to help people with
office’s mission: To seek justice, the State Public Defenders state and foundation grants to developmental disabilities because
promote public safety and fight Office, Island Grove Regional sustain programs such as the it is an amendment to a statute
for our community. Along with Treatment Center and North Juvenile Assessment Center rather than the state constitution.
the outstanding law enforcement Range Behavioral Health Center (which has helped more than Once it passed, the legislature could
agencies in Weld, we have made came together to form ICAPP (In- 1,100 families), the Juvenile use the money for something else,
great strides toward these three Custody Alternative Placement Diversion Program (which like “salaries, parks or prisons,”
goals. Program). This program was handles juvenile cases at a fraction Bruce said.
“More than a dozen violent designed for defendants better of the price of prosecution), the “They can pull the old switcheroo.
served by mental health and/ Truancy Diversion Program, the That’s how the system works. It’s a
predators were sentenced to
or substance abuse treatment Weld County Gang Task Force sham,” he said. “People are trusting
prison for the remainder of their
than jail time and aims to reduce and a DUI Prevention Program. the legislature won’t steal it, which
lives during my first term as DA.
recidivism and, in turn, ease jail Receiving outside funding for it will. They have the power to
This office continually fights for
divert the money anywhere they
maximum sentences in cases overcrowding. these programs means that county
ranging from first-degree murder “This same group has recently dollars can be used to fund other
“This is why they tried to push me
and domestic violence to vehicular come together again, along with valuable county projects.”
out of government – because I tell
homicide and sexual assault. As the Weld District Court, to form
the truth,” Bruce said.
a result, hundreds of defendants the Weld County Drug Court. Ken Buck can be reached at
For more information, visit
will spend many years in prison Again, the goal of the program is email@example.com. www.NoStateTaxHike.com.