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 April 23, 2010

We all get what we all pay for in the world we all choose

The marquee supporting Proposition 101 sits next to Interstate 25, but it’s a little hard to read driving by at 75 mph. If the citizen-initiated ballot measure passes in November, speeds that high may eventually become a thing of the past as the state fund for highway maintenance dwindles to pocket change.

At first reading, who wouldn’t like to live in a world where it only costs $10 a year to register your car? Where you don’t pay sales tax on the first $10,000 of any vehicle purchase or any sales tax at all on vehicle rentals or leases? Where counties don’t have to pay for state road construction and repair? Where the state income tax is only 3.5 percent and there are no taxes or fees on telephone service? Wouldn’t that save us all a ton of money?

Depends on the definition of a ton. As graphically illustrated elsewhere on this page, Prop. 101 would save the average Weld County car owner about $275 per year, or enough for about one premium car wash every other week, maybe enough for a front-end alignment every four months, which would be useful as the potholes remain unfilled.

Looking at it another way, under Prop. 101, the average Weld County vehicle owner would pocket more than the ownership taxes currently available to teach a student in the Greeley school district for an entire year. Current vehicle taxes provide $178 per student annually, a fraction of the district’s overall budget to be sure, but even that would drop to $2.49 should the ballot measure win voter approval.

On second thought, who would want to live in a world where the individual members of society have decided that paying for products and services that benefit society at large – safe roads, an educated population – is no longer their responsibility?

Not the people who bring you this newspaper, to name a few.

Prop. 101 and its companions on this year’s ballot, Amendments 60 and 61, give Colorado voters their clearest choice yet between living under a functional representative government and in a failed state. One need only look south to Colorado Springs, where the city can literally no longer afford to keep the streetlights on, to see the future for us all when individual self-interest triumphs over promoting the general welfare.

The proposed amendments will be examined in this space in future issues of the Business Report.

The marquee supporting Proposition 101 sits next to Interstate 25, but it’s a little hard to read driving by at 75 mph. If the citizen-initiated ballot measure passes in November, speeds that high may eventually become a thing of the past as the state fund for highway maintenance dwindles to pocket change.

At first reading, who wouldn’t like to live in a world where it only costs $10 a year to register your car? Where you don’t pay sales tax on the first $10,000 of any vehicle purchase or any sales tax at all on vehicle rentals or…

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