Club 20 spring meeting under way at Two Rivers


Today’s highlights

Club 20’s spring meeting continues this morning, beginning with the introduction of BLM State Director Helen Hankins at 8 a.m. at Two Rivers Convention Center.

Rocky Mountain Health Plans President and Chief Executive Officer Steve ErkenBrack is to deliver the luncheon keynote speech on recently passed federal health care legislation.

Three candidate forums will be conducted this afternoon, including one for the 3rd Congressional District involving Republican candidates Bob McConnell of Steamboat Springs and Scott Tipton of Cortez.

Fines for late payment of vehicle-licensing fees aren’t popular in Colorado, but reducing or eliminating those fees in general is less popular in Club 20, the Western Slope lobbying and promotional organization.

Club 20 voted Friday during the organization’s spring meeting at Two Rivers Convention Center to oppose proposals to reduce or eliminate licensing fees and slowly reduce the state income tax.

The organization also urged federal legislators to resist efforts to establish wilderness in areas where local communities oppose it.

Club 20 was founded more than a half-century ago to battle in Denver for a greater share of state money for roads on the Western Slope. That money, as well as other sources of state revenue, is endangered by three measures to go before voters in November, Club 20 said.

Proposition 101 would cost the state about $1.2 billion annually by slashing vehicle-ownership taxes and vehicle-registration fees and cutting the state income tax from 4.63 percent to 3.5 percent over time.

Those cuts in revenue would cut deeply into the state funding needed to build and maintain the roads that underlay the Western Slope economy, the organization said.

Club 20 also voted to oppose two constitutional amendments, 60 and 61.

Amendment 60 would phase out local property tax funding for many school districts. Property owners also could vote where they own property, which would allow nonresident, second-home owners in resort towns to vote on local measures, threatening the ability of local governments to pass property-tax-funded public projects.

Amendment 61 would prohibit all levels of government from incurring debt without voter approval and would limit any voter-approved debt to a 10-year repayment period.

Amendment 61 would make the costs of borrowing so high as to prevent voter approval of any debt, Club 20 said.

No Colorado lands should be designated wilderness without the support of the U.S. representative who represents the area and both U.S. senators from the state, Club 20 said Friday.

“Wilderness legislation should only be introduced after a thorough vetting of all stakeholder interests within the resident communities,” the organization said

It was reacting to proposals for wilderness in the 3rd Congressional District, which covers most of the Western Slope and much of southern Colorado.

Wilderness designations also should respect Colorado water law, the organization said.

Lands under consideration as wilderness should be considered for less restrictive designations, such as national conservation areas or areas of critical environmental concern.

Neither the Colorado Wilderness Act nor the Hidden Gems Citizen Wilderness Proposal within the White River National Forest are sponsored by U.S. Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., who represents the 3rd Congressional District.


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