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Thursday, October 17,2013

Election Guide 2013: Yes on Boulder Ballot Issue 2C

By Boulder Weekly Staff

City of Boulder Ballot Question 2C
Sales and Use Tax Extension

Vote Yes

This question, the second of the three transportation/open space tax measures on the ballot, asks voters to continue an open space tax beyond its expiration in 2018 but gradually decrease the amount of revenue that goes to open space, diverting it to the general fund instead. This open space tax, a .33 cent sales and use tax that shouldn’t be confused with the one addressed in 2B and 2D, would be extended in perpetuity if 2C passes, but the city’s general fund would start getting a slice of the pie. From 2019 to 2035, open space would get .22 cents, and the other .11 cents would go toward general city resources like fire, police, libraries, parks, recreation and human services. Then, in 2035, the amount dedicated to open space would dwindle further, to .10 cents of every dollar taxed. The remaining .23 cents would go to the aforementioned services and other general-fund purposes.

Supporters of 2C say that all of the properties in the current open space acquisition plan can be purchased with the amount of money set aside in this measure, even with the decrease in the portion going to the open space department. They argue that there is only so much land available to buy, and other areas of the city’s budget, like transportation and human services, are in more dire need of funding than the open space department. They say the open space department would continue to be funded in perpetuity with enough to manage its lands. Opponents say that acquiring and managing open space should still be one of the city’s top priorities, and that not only should the tax be extended, but the full amount should continue to be spent on open space alone. They say that voters like to know what a particular tax will be used for when they approve it, as opposed to approving unrestricted spending by government. Ray Bridge, co-chair of PLAN-Boulder County, said his board feels that while 2C is far from perfect, the board endorsed it reluctantly because open space needs continuing funding at some level.

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