Candidates oppose tax amendments

Ray Scott, left, and Bob Hislop, right, joke with Jeff Wendland with the Redlands Rotary Club before the start of Scott’s and Hislop’s debate at the Redlands Mesa Golf Clubhouse.

Though they both said they would defend the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights at all costs, both Republican candidates for House District 54 said Friday they were not in favor of three controversial measures on this year’s ballot.

Those measures, Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101, are designed by their backers to undo some of what they call chipping away at TABOR since it was approved by voters in 1992.

The proposition would undo new vehicle-registration fees approved by the Legislature last year. Meanwhile, Amendments 60 and 61 would negate:

The numerous TABOR overrides approved by voters throughout the state;

A Legislature-approved freeze of property tax mill levies that altered school funding;

Certain bonding mechanisms that the state’s courts have ruled don’t violate TABOR’s restrictions on borrowing.

District 54 candidates Bob Hislop and Ray Scott said during a debate sponsored by the Redlands Rotary Club at the Redlands Mesa Golf Club that while they like some aspects of the three measures, as drafted they would be devastating not only to state and local budgets, but businesses as well.

“Proposition 101 has a huge chance of passing, but do I agree with it? No,” Scott said.

“When you first read them, at first blush, they look exciting,” Hislop added. “But you get into them, they’re tragic. They hurt schools, they hurt government, they hurt business. We don’t need them.”

While the two also agreed on a number of other issues, such as what to do about education funding, gun rights and cutting government spending, Scott said several times that he has more experience in the region than Hislop, who has lived in the county for four years.

Scott told the group he has lived on the Western Slope for more than 40 years, spending about half that time working in the chief industry that drives the local economy, oil and gas. As a result, Scott said he knows better how local voters feel about the issues.

Hislop, however, said he, too, is a native Coloradan and has experience in business. But he brings the added experience of being a career law-enforcement officer, serving in the U.S. Secret Service.

“I know business, and I know law enforcement, and the combination is two for one,” Hislop said.

“You have a picture of who we are ... and there’s not a whole lot left to say,” Scott added. “You have to decide between my business background, Bob’s law enforcement background, and what you feel is right for the state and your personal family. That’s what it boils down to. Vote with your heart.”


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