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Comment Archives: stories

Re: “Suthers plays defense on tax hike

Curious Atta boy vote how you feel is right. To be honest I ant so sure ill vote yes. I agree we dont need a Stadium and the rest of C4C needs private funding. But still Im betting we gonna have us a Stadium the thing is with or without bad roads.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Rocky Smith on 08/17/2015 at 8:32 PM

Re: “Suthers plays defense on tax hike

The Gazette article on Friday quoted Councilwoman Gaebler: "If this tax does not pass, the city will not have the funds to maintain its existing roads." This means, I hope, that if the tax does not pass, the city will not divert ANY sales tax revenue to the URA to pay for building a stadium. Surely, a prudent city govt, having at last acquired the wisdom that only adversity can teach, has learned to discern what needs doing and what doesn't. Therefore, a prudent govt would not permit any sales tax dollars to be diverted to economic development schemes - such as a downtown stadium - when there are roads that need to be fixed. Or ... would City Leaders take the money and build a stadium anyway, just to teach the citizens that OUR tax dollars belong to THEM, to do with as THEY please.

dreamwevr - A sales tax is the fairest method of taxation because 100% of the people will be subject to paying. Many people who don't own real property or a business or stock etc favor raising taxes because somebody else pays for the benefits they partake of freely. Having to pay a tax increases one's awareness of what govt is spending money on and encourages one to think about what role(s) govt should perform. As for "those who would be hit the hardest by a sales tax increase", the lower income group will be the LEAST impacted by a sales tax increase because basic items, including food and medicine, are exempt from sales tax. Also, those with the least amount of disposable income can further reduce the impact of the sales tax by reducing the dollar total of their discretionary purchases. Living below what one can afford and saving the difference is the proven method of accumulating capital, a practice which has enabled millions to move up the economic ladder.

Rocky - Thanks for the local history lesson. Agree with you. Unless the mayor kills the stadium proposal, I'm voting No on a sales tax increase.

9 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by curious on 08/17/2015 at 7:55 PM

Re: “Suthers plays defense on tax hike

What did you expect Suthers to say? "Damn, you caught me!"

This city is floundering in indecision - unable to acknowledge it is poor, and unable to leverage the ideas it takes to instigate change. It shuffles money around from need to need - but never addresses anything on a permanent basis.

The question is what kind of city we want to have - a retirement community like Mesa Arizona, or a hipster culture like Denver. Either choice will displace thousands in the long term, but making no choice condemns us to unending discord.

So which will it be? Higher taxes and a younger demographic, or lower taxes and an older demographic?

1 like, 7 dislikes
Posted by UCanSeeClearlyNow on 08/17/2015 at 6:05 PM

Re: “Gay tolerance divides Skorman, Bach in mayoral debate

You know, Merl was a really talented guy. He used to get drunk, eat a shit load of brawtwerst and beans and he could fart greensleeves out of his asshole with out even tryining. I mean, no wonder he was an executive VP at APRIA. Who wouldn't appreciate that kind of talent (Small penis or not?)

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Jim Sims on 08/17/2015 at 5:58 PM

Re: “Suthers plays defense on tax hike

What's clear is that the city has been squirreling away funds (likely for C4C) that should have been spent on roads and other city needs.

11 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by LivesLocally on 08/17/2015 at 5:50 PM

Re: “Suthers plays defense on tax hike

People here it is in a nut shell. About 20 or 25 years ago a whole bunch of people with money bought up the old buildings south of downtown. They ran off the industry that was there because it was ugly and they were not making any money. They bought a woman mayor but we voted down there plan to build a convention center (we got a park). So then TABOR kicked in and there stuck with it. Well they bought the last mayor moved a bunch of money around got an approval from the State and left us with bad roads and drainage. This new Mayor a fella that has spent his life in Politics is trying to please the citizens by showing us a way to pay for roads without hurting the deep pockets that help him get into another office. Thats whats happening. Now were going to get a Stadium the Broadmoor will take over the day to day operations it will sit there more then its used just like the World Arena. And guess what we have no one to blame but ourselves this city keeps voting in one party, keeps listening to money, wont allow another voice to be heard and round and round we go. The State dont care they got what they want in Denver The city leaders dont care they dont live in the neighborhoods that are in the worst shape or they have no set time to be somewhere. So we have a choice vote down the tax and live with what we have or vote in the tax demand that is what its used for and for them to prove thats what its being used for. Then screem and yell until Denver heres us and VOTE OUT the fools that keep screwing us. Stop listening to the money thats controlling the pulpit, stop spending money on the Broodmoors BS (like the Gazette) and for goodness sake get some fresh folks in to run this city. Demand this TIF crap stop and get on with the city taking care of the citizens. We have enough stores, we have enough fast food places, we have enough Walmarts, we even have enough parks and trails. Fix what we have then move on to all the happy happy crap that does nothing but make money for people that have money. We have allowed this we can stop this.

15 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Rocky Smith on 08/17/2015 at 4:37 PM

Re: “Suthers plays defense on tax hike

It is unlikely that St. Louis building a new stadium to keep the Rams from relocating to California is an "investment" in the city's economic future, as proponents claim. (See Liberty's link above). The belief that stadiums are economic engines persists despite voluminous data proving otherwise. St. Louis is, in fact, buying itself a $1B status symbol.

Our City Leaders believe that Pikes Peak is an inadequate status symbol. But unlike St. Louis, COS has no major league sports team and no need for a stadium, and certainly not for a status symbol that will last 30 years rather than millennia. And so the newest hurdle in the Stadium Resistance Movement is how to prevent the State from forcing citizens to pay for stadiums in their city without a vote, or pay even when they voted No.

11 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by curious on 08/17/2015 at 2:46 PM

Re: “ACLU prez vs. cake bills

Maybe you would not want a cake from me if I did not like the rules....

Posted by Jack Abbot on 08/17/2015 at 1:48 PM

Re: “Suthers plays defense on tax hike

This thread includes a whole lot of information, but there is still something I don't understand. Opponents of the sales tax increase keep saying it will hurt the middle and lower classes. Even in the story above, the CPA says "leaving more money in the pockets of citizens, including those who would be hit the hardest by a sales tax increase." Yet, the Americans for Prosperity state a flat tax as one of their Four Principles of Optimal Taxation. According to their website, "Since sales taxes are flat and do not discriminate on one's ability to pay, they have proven to be the least destructive to economic growth." I don't get it...

Posted by dreamwevr on 08/17/2015 at 1:13 PM

Re: “Suthers plays defense on tax hike

50 Million a year = 1 interchange (http://www.csindy.com/coloradosprings/chee…)

Sprawl is an expensive mistress.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by rt on 08/17/2015 at 10:16 AM

Re: “Suthers plays defense on tax hike

The nonbinding Resolution appears to be primarily an effort by Council to placate citizen disapproval of using tax dollars to build a stadium without a public vote. Because so much tax money must be forthcoming from the citizens - more than $300M, including stadium infrastructure - the decision to build or not to build a stadium should be made by the citizens, not by Council or City Leaders.

Building the stadium involves 2 bedrock issues that need to be resolved before planning goes any further. (1) Do the citizens want a downtown stadium and (2) If yes, do the citizens want to pay for it using their tax revenue. A discussion large enough to attract the attention of ALL citizens needs to occur NOW, not LATER, when contracts are signed and construction commences. The Gazette can be relied upon to do nothing to facilitate a public discussion that would lead to a public vote. Is there a media entity in COS that thinks the stadium/taxation issue is important and that it will therefore take a leadership position in gathering the facts from all sources and presenting them to its readers?

12 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by curious on 08/17/2015 at 8:56 AM

Re: “Suthers plays defense on tax hike

Councilman Pico: "This has nothing to do with C4C."

One must take exception to this. Until Council says forcefully, by binding ordinance that NO TAXPAYER DOLLARS, no matter how they are laundered (URA, parking enterprise, stadium authority, etc...), will pay for C4C, asking for a NEW TAX, is a problem to citizens. Council specifically left the possibility open for TIF financing in their January resolution which would directly reduce general fund dollars and then, in August, Council is asking for more dollars to carry out general fund functions. This has EVERYTHING to do with C4C and voter trust.

20 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Liberty for COS on 08/16/2015 at 9:29 PM

Re: “Suthers plays defense on tax hike

Curious: Regardless of what Council and they City Attorney say about a large-area TIF: Former City Attorney Chis Melcher in conjunction with the Denver Lawyer, Jason Dunn (who received $100K bonus for getting the politically appointed state Economic Development Commission to approve the C4C plan) put together the entire C4C plan. They thought a TIF over 90% of the City was not only legal and doable, but was how they planned to pay for the stadium. This TIF over 90% of the City is what was presented to a state agency as the “base financing” for the stadium. If Council and the City Attorney are now saying that was a fraudulent claim, they have an ethical responsibility to correct the fraudulent claim with the state. Otherwise, perhaps, instead of Helen Collins under an ethics probe, it should be the City Attorney and Council who knowingly are allowing approval of state funding based on a financing method that is not legitimate. About $84 million of City sales tax TIF dollars in the “zone” and about $42 million of County sales tax TIF dollars in the “zone” were the means these two high-dollar lawyers presented to the state in addition to about $60 million of additional City sales and property tax TIF from the SWDT urban renewal area to provide funding for the stadium.

A couple of points that are important:
1) There is nothing in state law that limits the size of an urban renewal area. In fact the size of urban renewal areas, in practice, has much more to do with developer plans than “blight” boundaries. This is why, in practice, it is the developer who wants to “redevelop” an area with taxpayer help who pays to conduct the “blight study” to designate the planned area as blighted.

2) Besides TIF in a 90%-of-the-City C4C district, the City’s C4C financing plan called for TIF in the South West Downtown Urban Renewal Area. However, to collect TIF dollars for a meaningful period in SWDT, the City will have to “restart the clock” on the SW Downtown urban renewal plan. By state law TIFs can be collected for up to 25 years, but the SWDT area was put in place in 2001. So…look for a brand new SWDT urban renewal plan and TIF with an area plenty big enough to collect millions of City sales and property and divert them from the general fund for a stadium and C4C infrastructure. This can and likely WILL all be done with a simple majority vote of the pro-C4C Council in the next year.

3) The City has used taxpayer dollars to seek outside council about “stadium authorities” that could also be put in place for a large area TIF. According to meeting records and this Indy article, the City paid Denver Lawyer, Craig Umbaugh for such legal work. It has never been published or made available. (http://www.csindy.com/IndyBlog/archives/2012/08/21/bach-keeps-a-lid-on-some-legal-work )

4) Regarding a lawsuit…a judge in St. Louis recently voided a city ordinance guaranteeing a vote on a stadium there. The judge stated that the law requiring a vote “was too ‘vague’ to enforce and that it conflicted with a statewide statute.” Sounds like Council’s “stadium vote promise.” (Full story at: http://dailysignal.com/2015/08/10/despite-law-requiring-voter-approval-to-use-taxpayer-funds-for-stadiums-st-louis-can-fund-new-nfl-stadium-home-without-public-consent/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=tdstwitter)

Keep in mind that Colorado Springs City Council’s “promise” is not even an ordinance—it is a non-binding resolution. Council rejected a proposed ordinance requiring a public vote that would have teeth after receiving tremendous pressure from those who will benefit from a publicly funded stadium.

17 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Liberty for COS on 08/16/2015 at 9:14 PM

Re: “Suthers plays defense on tax hike

Councilman Pico, your commitment to a vote for TIF is appreciated, even though it represents a minority of Council. Please persuade your colleagues. Your assertion that the stadium is the only C4C project requiring TIF financing is incorrect. In order for state dollars to flow to the museum or the stadium for the 30 years, $129 million worth of infrastructure must be completed by 2023. In the C4C application, SWDT TIF from City sales and property taxes and City public parking fees pay for these improvements. These are precisely the types of C4C expenditures citizens should be watching carefully that will be slipped onto a Council consent calendar.

16 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Liberty for COS on 08/16/2015 at 9:05 PM

Re: “Suthers plays defense on tax hike

Rocky Smith, the funds were spent on the road maintenance projects they were allocated for.

Yes, the PPRTA site was hacked and is temporarily down.

Yes, all funds in the proposed sales tax can be contracted out and spent on road maintenance, none of it will be diverted to anything else.

This has nothing to do with C4C.

The Council is certainly not "packed" with C4C members. I remain committed to your vote prior to any TIF zone or any other way of spending your money. Only the stadium would require any such funding.

4 likes, 10 dislikes
Posted by Andres Pico on 08/16/2015 at 7:36 PM

Re: “Suthers plays defense on tax hike

From the Council's resolution regarding the stadium and TIF (per Liberty's link):
Section 7. Under state law, any use of City property tax or sales tax increment financing by the Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority is subject to City Council approval in connection with the approval of an urban renewal area and an urban renewal plan. Accordingly, voter approval under this Resolution shall not, unless otherwise required by law, affect those state law procedures for authorization of City property tax and sales tax increment financing through the Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority.

After reading Section 7 seven times, and meditating between readings, this appears to say that State law authorizes the URA to siphon off City sales tax revenue without the voters consent. Section 7 also says that TIF requires City Council approval. But since the Council is packed with stadium supporters and TIF approvees, the URA will get the sales tax to build a stadium.

And Section 6 appears to say that TIF cannot be collected from 90% of the City because 90% of the City is not blighted, regardless of how many potholes, sinkholes, and tall weeds abound.

On the other hand, I'm not a lawyer or a scholar or a politician or author of the article in question, so I may be mistaken in my interpretation of the meaning of the Council's resolution. Perhaps Councilman Pico would be kind enough to comment on this document?

15 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by curious on 08/16/2015 at 5:11 PM

Re: “Defining downtown

Stetson Hills and Gleneagle should each just be their own cities. They already think they are anyway. They should be deannexed.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by dp72 on 08/16/2015 at 3:48 PM

Re: “Suthers plays defense on tax hike

As Liberty notes, City Council's resolution states "there would be no vote for a stadium paid for by City tax dollars diverted to the Urban Renewal Authority." Well, this previously unpublicized news is surprising, shocking, and outrageous, but we can't complain that this is taxation without representation, since this resolution comes from the people's representatives on the Council. The resolution stated - and the mayor affirmed - that if the City contributed any tax dollars for the stadium, the citizens will vote on it. BUT the resolution also stated that tax dollars collected from retail sales throughout 90% of COS and diverted to the URA are NOT City tax dollars and therefore the citizens will NOT vote on it. Is this a wonderful example of City Leaders and the selfless civic minded developer working together in unison to make COS the second-best city in Colorado if not a major contender for best mid-sized city in America? Or is this theft of the public purse on a grandiose scale?

How do normally mild-mannered and respectful-of-authority citizens stop City Leaders from building a stadium using our tax dollars without our say so? Should we . . . Hold a recall election to rid the Council of these tax thieves? Organize a citizen revolt? Sharpen the guillotine blades? Or sue the City? The attractive aspect of suing is that if the lawsuit was not settled before the 5-year construction deadline stipulated by the State, the stadium would not be built.

16 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by curious on 08/16/2015 at 3:14 PM

Re: “Defining downtown

So what's the purpose of this article? No conclusion reached. No thought boundary pushed. No call to action. Did I just read someone's 7th grade English assignment? Is this a glimpse into what the new Indy editors have in store? The comments have much more relevance than the article.

2 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by PacksA9 on 08/16/2015 at 2:45 PM

Re: “Defining downtown

Maybe the issue is that we need to think of our area as an interconnected and interdependent body. As noted in the article, across every city there are hubs that create their own "downtown." Some revitalization is necessary for certain areas of town that have fallen into disrepair. Yet, just because you have a headache doesn't mean you neglect the rest of your body. Everything needs to work in harmony. Right now the focus needs to be on our arteries--the roads and infrastructure throughout the entire body. People, not things, create great working and living spaces. Ensure a healthy, safe and vibrant area and it will become strong and flourish. Areas that prosper are where a diverse group (age, gender, socio-economic,etc.) all live and work. Downtown COS lacks that. Regulations, staid ideas of stadiums, trying to be like Denver or Boulder, the focus on vast development instead of new infill and not respecting our city's value are why our downtown isn't attractive to residents or tourists.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Vikki Haas Walton on 08/16/2015 at 2:32 PM

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