21 October 2015: Support BB and 1A

Support BB and 1A for a better Colorado and Clear Creek

Understandably our attention is becoming focused if not riveted on the 2016 campaign. Interest is soaring, wonderfully so given the stakes, but before we get too immersed into that drama we have unfinished citizen business in 2015.

More than likely you have received your election ballot in the mail. If not, please contact our Clerk and Recorder Pam Phipps at the county courthouse.

Countywide, there are two questions that demand our attention and in Georgetown and Idaho Springs, several others.

Of critical importance is Clear Creek Referred Measure 1A, which would allow our county government to be actively involved in bringing broadband, including high speed internet and cell phone service, across the county even to remote areas.

Some years ago, the legislature in its infinite wisdom passed a law that prohibited local governments from getting involved in providing broadband to their communities. While a boon for telecommunication corporations such as Comcast and Century Link, it has been a detriment to citizens living in sparsely populated areas.

A saving grace of the law is that it contains an opt-out provision, sort of like how communities can de-Bruce from the so-called Taxpayer Bill of Rights, an option many small, rural communities have already exercised.

You can learn more about 1A on the KYGT website’s News and Talk Page in a discussion between me and Clear Creek County spokesperson John Bryan, Commissioner Tim Mauck, and Clear Creek Economic Development Corporation President Peggy Stokstad. Their explanation and perspectives will be most helpful in understanding the issue.

Statewide initiative BB would allow the state to keep taxes already paid on marijuana purchases. An obscure provision of TABOR says that if in a new tax’s first year there is a discrepancy between what was projected to be collected and actually was, the state must refund the excess to taxpayers, in this case $66.1 million.

If not approved, $24 million will be refunded to marijuana merchants, $17.1 million allotted to pot buyers in the form a temporary reduction in the sales tax, and $25 million, less than half of the fund, would be credited to Colorado residents (an average of $8 per taxpayer). In short, if the initiative fails, as some anti-government conservatives are urging, the people of Colorado would be subsidizing the pot industry and users to the tune of $41.1 million.

As an aside, I supported amending our constitution to allow for recreational use of marijuana but with the caveat that we tax the crap out of it. That philosophy is guiding me to vote for Georgetown proposition 2D, which would empower the Board of Selectmen to impose a sales tax up to five dollars per purchase.

Finally, there is another way you can support your community, not by voting but by showing up and donating. On Saturday, October 24th from 6:00 – 9:00, Friends of KYGT, our community radio and voice of Clear Creek for the past 20 years, is hosting a fundraising gala at Hilldaddy’s in Idaho Springs.

Under the stewardship of founder Greg Markle and with the immeasurable work of countless volunteers over the years, KYGT has grown to become a voice heard not only in every state but also in many countries across the world vis-à-vis the link on our website, and that signal helps bring countless guests to our home.

While we often take for granted our life experiences up here, tourists see us in a very different light. I am still amazed at the number of people who pull off the interstate and stop by the studio for a look-see. I have posed over the years a good number of times for photographs, with the cabin and goat statue in the background, taken by tourists thrilled to be here and fascinated by what we do.

It is obvious then that in addition to the invaluable community service the station provides, the draw of KYGT translates into dollars for Clear Creek merchants.

Knowledge is power and access to communication sources is a human right. Lives depend upon it, and as a community we are stronger and safer with everyone being connected.

Please support your local community by voting for 1A and contributing to the KYGT fundraiser and your state community by voting for BB.

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