Bell’s Rich Jones Attacks Measures 60, 61, 101

A couple of days ago I asked Jeff Wright why he supports Colorado ballot measures 60, 61, and 101. But I still had some questions about the measures, and I figured I should ask a critic to reply to Wright. Rich Jones of the Bell Policy Center agreed to take my questions. Note that I still haven’t formulated a position on the measures; my dad and I will be working up an article about the measures for Grand Junction Free Press.

1. Even if these measures passed, isn’t it possible for voters to approve spending at the same rate as if the measures weren’t passed? If so, then apparently the thrust of the measures is to make spending increases harder, not impossible.

Jones: No. The measures cut revenues to state and local governments and do not address spending. Because we have balanced budget requirements at the state and local levels in Colorado, revenues drive spending. As revenues are cut state and local governments would not be able to spend at the same rate let alone at increased rates. The trust of the measures is to make increases impossible. If the measures are approved, the only way voters could approve spending at the same or higher rates would be to reverse course and either vote against the revenue reductions contained in them or approve revenue increases.

2. Wright claims that it’s totally possible to finance long-term projects through annual revenues, rather than through debt. In other word, according to Wright, 61 doesn’t so much restrict the types of projects funded, but alters HOW those projects must be funded. Is his point accurate?

Jones: The capital projects currently financed in Colorado have long useful lives, in many instances 30 to 50 years. In the case of water projects the useful life could be as long as 50 to 100 years. It makes sense to borrow the money to build them now and pay them off over time. We need them now and we can use revenues that we will receive over time to pay them off. In this way the people who will benefit from the projects today pay part of the costs as do those who will benefit from them in the future. Students in college today will benefit from a new classroom building as will the students 20 years from now and both should pay a portion of its costs. Current residents who receive water from a water project benefit from the project as will those who will be getting water 20 to 30 years from now and both should pay for the costs of the project. In this way we are using annual revenues to pay off the bonds used to finance the projects.

It would be near impossible to build a large scale project such as a bridge one year at a time and pay for it with annual revenues. I doubt you would find many contractors willing to take on such a project and I doubt that it would be feasible to construct it in such a way. It would be like trying to build your house a little bit each year. By taking out a mortgage you are able to live in the house while you pay it off thus getting immediate benefits.

Below are links to several web sites that contain information that we prepared on the effects of the three proposals.

www.bellpolicy.org – Our web site

www.lookingforwardcolorado.com – A collaborative between the Bell, Colorado Children’s Campaign and the Fiscal Policy Institute.

I hope this information helps.

One thought on “Bell’s Rich Jones Attacks Measures 60, 61, 101

  1. Anonymous

    VOTE YES 60, 61 & 101
    VOTE YES 60, 61 & 101
    VOTE YES 60, 61 & 101

    Boy, some Coloradans are either stupid, easily swayed by hype, or are getting money from this Colorado public service system. DO NOT BELIEVE WHAT THEY ARE PREACHING.

    60 proposes reducing property taxes.
    Colorado government is overpaid, and I see no problem reducing my property taxes. They are constantly increasing tax levies without my permission, and it is pissing me off. My house is not worth its supposed value, and I pay ridiculous amounts of property taxes. I will never sell it for what the state says its worth.

    61 forbids debt by loan in any form.
    Colorado cannot run up a deficit, what is wrong with this. Pay as you go and save for a rainy day like the rest of us. My family is pay as we go, and we are deathly close to bankruptcy.

    101 state income tax rate from its current 4.63 percent to 3.5 percent. Reduce taxes and fees on vehicle purchases, registrations, leases and rentals. End all state and local charges on telecommunication services except for 911 fees. What is wrong with this. My $15 phone service costs $30 dollars due to Colorado taxes, ridiculous. $50 car registration when it costs Colorado $4 bucks to process. What are all my sales taxes for. Currently I register in New Mexico to save money on my vehicles.

    Look I feel bad for public service people like cops, firefighters, teachers, but many of you are overpaid or not needed. Honestly, food on my families table comes first. If you public servants want a change, reduce how much politicians, administrators, principals and all the other wasteful spending, and not speaking out against this measure. This measure will force that issue, and if each civil job wants more money ask for it next election.

    I hope this election does not end up like the fiasco of Referendum C that gave Colorado an additional 5.7 billion over five years rather than the 3.7 billion originally estimated. Colorado took $450 from a single taxpayer to 1,250 from joint filers. Colorado politicians lied and took more money than they were supposed to. Look it up if you don’t believe me. They took 1,250 bucks out of my families mouths and spent it on more wasteful projects and staff.

    WE NEED A CHANGE
    THIS MONEY WILL DEFINITELY KEEP MY FAMILY FED AND GIVE US A CHANCE TO AVOID BANKRUPTCY.

    GOD BLESS

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