The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners are on record as being opposed to three ballot issues that critics say will deal a death blow to school districts, as well as local and state governments, by rolling back taxes and reining in debt.
That says a lot because the five El Paso commissioners are among the most fiscally conservative politicians in the state. In fact, the alleged mastermind behind the measures is one of their former board members: Colorado Springs resident Douglas Bruce.
“They just go too far,” Commissioner Dennis Hisey said of Amendment 60, Amendment 61 and Proposition 101.
Commissioner Sallie Clark said the ballot issues would impact roads, bridges, schools, libraries, water projects, fire districts, and human services. “It undoes what our forefathers envisioned as local government. It takes away our ability to manage within our budget.”
One of the measures, called Proposition 101, would not only reduce the state income tax rate, but would roll back car registration fees to $10. While Clark would like to see a reduction in motor vehicle fees, she says the reduction goes too far.
Testimony and evidence presented during a recent campaign finance hearing in Denver show that Bruce had a big hand in writing the three measures and organizing the massive-signature gathering campaign that qualified them to be put on the ballot.
Bruce, who has denied involvement in the three measures, was ordered by Denver District Judge Brian Whitney to appear for a deposition in connection with the hearing. After 30 attempts to serve him with the court order, the judge found him in contempt of court.
A hearing on the contempt-of-court citation is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Monday in Whitney’s courtroom in Denver.