COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Ballot measure 2C has been getting a lot of attention in Colorado Springs, and we’re taking a closer look.
If passed, it would put in place a temporary .62 percent sales tax increase. That would generate $50 million a year to fix roads over the next five years. But there has been some controversy surrounding it.
Those who oppose 2C say the money will not be going to just fix the roads, but to other projects. But Mayor John Suthers says that’s not true.
Suthers said voters need to pay close attention to the wording in the ballot.
“That’s what says every single dime that is raised over these next five years from the increase in sales tax would go to road repairs and improvements. It can’t go anyplace else,” Suthers said.
But it’s the wording of the ballot that’s causing the issue.
“Now the ballot title says it’s for road and improvements. Improvements aren’t necessarily the roads,” former politician Douglas Bruce said.
City councilwoman Helen Collins said she represents the normal citizen who lives paycheck to paycheck and is not in favor of a higher tax.
“Well the tax increase we go from 33rd in the country down to 17th to highest sales tax in the country and I don’t support that,” Collins said.
Collins also said she still believes the money from 2C will go toward building a downtown arena instead of roads. City officials said they have a list on their website with a proposed paving plan for five years if the measure passes.
City auditor Denny Nester said the money will be set aside in a special revenue fund, which means it can’t be moved without going back to the citizens to vote on it.
“If we all have very nice roads and there is no longer a need for that, we could always go back to the voters and say this fund has $2 left in it and we would like to use it for project X and voters approve then it could be moved,” Nester said.
Retired political science professor Bob Loevy said Colorado Springs has an interesting voting dynamic.
“Politically they are Republican, generally they are conservative, but they tend to vote for tax issues,” Loevy said.
Loevy said that’s especially true for tax issues the voters can see.
“The potholes, the cracks in the paving, everyone can clearly see what they are going to get for their money. Based on the past tradition for voting for road tax increases, this one should pass easily,” Loevy said.
If you are concerned about where city funds are being used, you can call 719-385-ADTR or go to city website to see a complete 2015 Audit Report.