What matters perhaps the most to voters when considering a ballot initiative at the polls is how that measure would affect their wallets.
This year, La Plata County, the city of Durango and two school districts are asking voters to open theirs to pay for multiple services, and the tax bill would increase if Colorado voters approve a few statewide ballot items in November.
The following is a breakdown of the sum in new taxes voters would pay if each of the ballot initiatives is approved:
Road and bridge mill levyWhat it is: La Plata County is proposing a property tax increase of 2.4 mills, which would lift the current 8.5 mill levy to 10.9 mills and sunset after 10 years. A mill is equal to $1 per $1,000 of assessed value.What it would do: The anticipated $40 million in revenue over a decade would fund road and bridge infrastructure and maintenance throughout the county. The county has prioritized 10 years of capital projects.Who is affected: All citizens who live within La Plata County.How much you would pay: The owner of a $400,000 home would pay $76 more in annual property taxes for this initiative.Ballot issue 1BWhat it is: La Plata County is proposing a property tax increase to generate about $3.2 million annually.What it would do: The county would increase debt to $40.4 million to fund improvements, including a terminal expansion, for the Durango-La Plata County Airport. As the ballot language reads, the mill levy would be set each year at an amount “sufficient” to pay principal and interest on the debt.Who is affected: All residents who live within La Plata County.How much you would pay: The owner of a $400,000 home would pay about $50 more in annual property taxes for this initiative.Ballot issue 3AWhat it is: Durango School District 9-R is asking for a mill levy increase to undertake $1.7 million in debt.What it would do: The school district would use revenue from a tax increase of 1.2 mills to mitigate increased class sizes and lost educational programs, develop programs to prepare students for college and careers, and attract and retain quality staff.Who is affected: Residents living within Durango school district boundaries.How much you would pay: The average home within city limits, valued at $500,000, would be taxed $45 more annually for this specific initiative.Ballot issue 3BWhat it is: Bayfield School District is asking to assume a $28.7 million bond and at least double the current 5.26 mill levy.What it would do: With the assistance of an $8.5 million state grant, the school district would build a new elementary school for third through fifth grade, renovate its elementary school to be used as a primary school for kindergarten through second grade, improve safety and security at the middle school and build an addition to the administration office to house the technology department and provide more meeting space.Who is affected: Residents living within Bayfield school district boundaries.How much you would pay: Someone with a $280,000 home, which is the average home value in Bayfield, would pay about $200 more annually in property taxes for this initiative.Amendment 69What it is: Also known as ColoradoCare, Amendment 69 would establish a 10 percent tax that employers would share with their employees. Employees’ taxes would be calculated on wages earned. Employers’ taxes would be based on total wages for all employees.What it would do: The amendment would do away with private health insurance and generate $25 billion annually for a statewide system to finance health care.Who is affected: Colorado residents.How much you would pay: Under the full tax rate, which would take effect 30 days before the new system assumes responsibility for health care payments in Colorado, a household with a $50,000 taxable wage income would pay $1,865 annually, and the employer would pay $3,335. A household earning $100,000 annually would pay $3,830, and the employer would pay $6,670. This would replace the bill employees and employers now pay for insurance.How does it all shake out for La Plata County residents?
If all state and local ballot items pass on Nov. 8, a La Plata County resident with a $400,000 home and $100,000 annual income would pay about $3,957 in new taxes for the airport, road and bridge fund and ColoradoCare. If you include only the two local initiatives, the annual bill is $126 – or about $10 a month.
Someone within Bayfield school district boundaries with a $280,000 home earning $50,000 yearly would pay about $2,153 in new taxes for the airport, road and bridge fund, ColoradoCare and the local school district.
Someone within Durango school district boundaries with a $500,000 home who earns $100,000 annually would pay about $4,033 in new taxes for the airport, road and bridge fund, ColoradoCare and municipal school district.
And if you’re a smoker, the bill could go up more: Amendment 72 would more than triple the tax on cigarettes from 84 cents per pack to $2.59, with revenues to go toward health and state and local government programs. People who smoke a pack a week could expect to pay about $91 more in cigarette taxes in a year. Taxes on other tobacco products might increase as much as 62 percent of the purchase price.
For a comprehensive summary of state ballot proposals that will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot, refer to the Colorado Blue Book at www.colorado.gov. Visit www.laplatacountyclerk.org for a sample ballot for La Plata County voters.