Taxes for roads would be double-dipping

Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 3:19 PM

Have I missed something?

The Durango City Council is asking city voters to approve a $218,000,000 tax increase on the November ballot. This request has local sales tax and local property tax components that will continue for 25 years before they sunset. While the overall proposal asks for a blank check to fund a laundry list of city projects, one major request item deserves immediate explanation from city leaders.

According to the city, a major priority (perhaps highest priority?) for the proposed citywide tax increase is for street reconstruction and improvement. Why is the council requesting a significant tax increase for this purpose, when there is a similar request on the November statewide ballot – State Transportation Initiative 153?

If successful, this initiative would be funded by a 0.62 percent statewide sales tax increase, with 40 percent of the proceeds going to local municipalities and county transportation projects, plus 15 percent for multimodal (bike and walking paths and mass transit) transportation.

Why the request from the city before we know the outcome of the statewide vote? If both the city tax increase and the state sales tax increase pass, Durango taxpayers will pay two different sales tax increases as well as a property tax increase for an ill-defined, open-ended city transportation project. That would amount to “triple-dipping” into taxpayers’ pockets for the next 25 years.

John Ritchey