Honest, They're Not Tax Increases! Boulder 2008 Ballot Issues 201 and 202
Issue 201 "de-Bruces" the city's property tax collection. Currently the voters in Boulder have eliminated all other city taxes from having to comply with Douglas Bruce's TABOR law. That is the state law that prevents government spending from going up in any year more than the combination of inflation plus population growth. Obviously local voters have a history of supporting this type of measure. Issue 201 merely says that the city can keep and spend the property tax it collects every year.
Without this provision, the city must refund "excess collections". TABOR is particularly a problem when coming out of a down economy -- government spending may have been cut back due to lower tax revenues, but when tax revenues return to their pre-downturn level spending can't resume at the same level. If this provision is passed, it will be phased in over six years, and most of the additional money retained will be added to the general fund, available for any city priority.
Issue 202 if passed would make permanent the current 0.38% sales tax that is set to expire at the end of 2011, and dedicate the revenue to the general fund. (This tax would also be de-Bruced.) When this tax was originally put into place it was dedicated to supporting library construction. At this point, 10% of the revenues are used for the library debt and the rest is available for the general fund. The library debt will be totally paid off when this tax expires in 2011. So, this is an opportunity to increase general fund (non-earmarked) revenue without increasing the tax burden on the citizens.
Without these two measures, city revenues will go down while expenses are going up, and major cuts will be required.
Vote YES on Ballot Issue 201.
Vote YES on Ballot Issue 202.