Tuesday, June 03, 2008

County budget plan keeps nature centers open

The county plan approved Monday to make up for the $9 million budget shortfall will cut $280,000 from the Department of Parks and Leisure Services but keep open the county's two nature centers. The plan does not sell any park land. Since lackluster tax revenues will continue for the foreseeable future, treat this as a temporary reprieve, not a solution.

1 comment:

zen said...

I've pretty much preached this on every article and blog that has written about this issue - when are they going to do the fiscally responsible thing and once and for all raise El Paso County property taxes?

Sales taxes are always a volatile revenue stream, especially during economic upheavals, and dependence on future growth to pay today's bills really is nothing more than a game of wishful fools.

Property taxes on the other hand can provide a stable revenue stream that for the most part will end these cycles of upheavals once and for all.

Sure it will seem painful at the start when bills first jump (though we most likely can wait to ask for the jump until the economy turns), but we won't be struggling with 1% sales tax jumps every time the economy dives either - and asking for these kinds of increases when the economy dives is what really hurts people (but no one seems to see that).

In the long term it actually will create a much more stable financial routine for families.

El Paso County's property tax mill levy rates are below - in most cases far below - pretty much every metropolitan county along the Front Range including Larimer, Boulder, Denver, Aurora, Adams, Arapahoe, Jefferson, Douglas, Pueblo, even Elbert Counties.

Yet El Paso also sits at the top of the list of most populous counties.

That property taxes are so low, and they pay bills with borrowed money of future rampant growth and depend on the ever volatile consumption (i.e. sales tax) is bad policy.

Now I know El Paso County has a libertarian streak going but if people could step outside their political selves long enough they'd see that this plan actually would hurt a lot less, because it would reduce the psychological pain of dealing with a county that always seems to ask for increases just when the rest of us are tightening the belt. And that is what really hurts - the upsetting of routine. If more poeple saw that we might have a chance of getting this done for the benefit of everyone right or left.