County eyes tax for DA, sheriff

Scott McInnis, Mesa County commissioner

Revenues from a public-safety sales tax in Mesa County would go to the Sheriff’s Office and the district attorney, but those agencies still would have to compete for general-fund money, Mesa County Commissioner Scott McInnis said.

He is working with others to draw up a proposal the commission will consider for the November ballot, McInnis said.

Many details remain to be worked out, but McInnis has made it clear that the measure will seek a sales tax increase that can be used only for the Sheriff’s Office and for prosecutors.

The 2017 county budget includes provisions to increase spending by $1.4 million for the sheriff and $400,000 by the district attorney’s office. Those amounts, though, are well short of the amounts sought by the agencies, and county commissioners said they would consider ways of restoring cuts to both agencies made in 2010.

The sheriff and district attorney wouldn’t be able to rely on the funding for their entire budgets, however, McInnis said. They still would have to compete with other county departments for their shares of the general fund.

Controlling the funding in that way would leave the commissioners in control of the county budget, he said.

The work he’s doing to draft a measure is being done only by him, meaning that his efforts are work product and don’t have to be handled in public, McInnis said.

It would prove too cumbersome to run sample provisions before officials such as the sheriff and DA during public meetings as he works to craft a proposal, McInnis said, noting that at an appropriate time, he’ll place a proposal before the entire commission for public discussion.

“We’re still working on the language,” he said. “Different people have different ideas.”

Among those people are Sheriff Matt Lewis and District Attorney Dan Rubinstein, he said.

Recent events have proved the need for more spending, McInnis said.

“Just last week we had two murders,” he said. “So serious crime has really jumped.”

That leaves McInnis in a unique role for him.

“For the first time in my entire career I’m going to stand out front on a tax increase,” he said. “I’ve looked at it from every other angle and I don’t see any other choice.”

If the Mesa County measure goes forward, it might not be the only one to increase the sales tax.

The state Legislature is considering boosting the statewide sales tax to 3.52 percent from 2.9 percent, to raise $3.5 billion over 20 years for transportation needs.

Purchases in Grand Junction now carry a combined 7.65 percent sales tax, with 2.9 percent going to the state, 2 percent to Mesa County and 2.75 percent to the city.

In Fruita, the city sales tax is 3 percent, making the combined total 7.9 percent. Palisade has a 2 percent sales tax and a combined 6.9 percent sales tax.

Grand Junction is seeking a quarter-cent sales tax increase to pay for a downtown events center. That question is on the April ballot.


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PART 1. So Big Brother Scott McInnis wants to raise your taxes – for the Sheriff and the DA, of course. Well idn’t dat just special?!
Everybody knows that Mesa County government is a corruptocracy, so recognizing that simple fact is not the problem. The problem is: who actually wants to do what it takes – (and face the very real risks of retributive financial destruction)—to chase Mesa County’s Good Old Boy corruptocrats back under the rock from whence they crawled?
Our problem is cultural, Mesa County has tolerated the gradual development of a culture of corruption and dependence.
Obviously, there can be no more popular and reasonable-sounding cause – however specious it may be – to raise taxes than for the Sheriff and the DA. So that’s how McInnis’ tax raise is being marketed, at least in the early stages.
Part of the answer is to enforce the existing laws, not just hire more cops and prosecutors.
The natural result of a culture of corruption is more lawlessness. Culturally speaking, you can not afford to not enforce the existing laws.
In Mesa County the corruption is not so much case-by-case as it is systemic, and you can’t fix systemic problems by throwing more money at them. It’s impossible. The mismanagement of county government cannot be an excuse to raise taxes. There’s WAY more to the complex corruptocratic equation than that.
What we have here is a failure to communicate clearly and honestly. What we have here is an irreconcilable conflict of two paradigms, two models, two philosophies.
In the first philosophy (#1 aka the “private sector”), people make widgets for a profit and sell them to willing buyers in a free marketplace. In that model, you have to pay attention to things such as overhead, productivity and profitability and product quality. If you can’t cut the mustard, you go bankrupt and out of business and let wiser and more disciplined competitors supply whatever demand there is for your type of widget.
In the second philosophy (#2 aka the “government sector”), people have budgets made up of money coercively taken from the “taxpayers” in a 100% captive market. Such things as overhead, productivity, profitability and product quality are irrelevant, they are simply not part of the reality equation. The only relevant thing is the ability of politicians to lie, cheat, steal, coerce, schmooze, deceive, maneuver, manipulate, and invent talking points in such a manner as to persuade a largely ignorant and gullible peasantry/proletariat/hoi polloi into accepting ever-increasing taxes in return for ever-diminishing quality of product (aka “service”). The only thing that matters are the public relations contests of so-called “politics”.

PART 2. IMO (and the opinion of many other people), Scott McInnis is a quintessential politician. As far as I know, he has never been in a position of making a living by making widgets for a profit. He appears to be primarily a creature of the “government sector”, and appears to think accordingly. For example, a former commissioner friend of mine said that during his tenure the commissioners would sit down and decide 30 appeals in a day and a half at no extra expense to the taxpayers. IMO, politicians like McInnis, on the other hand would rather pay thousands of dollars to have somebody else do the appeals so the commissioners could shield themselves from the political anger/consequences of those whose appeals were turned down.
Here’s the deal, boys and girls: One-Ring (Power over The Other) “government” exists only to grow itself.
In the private sector, when sales are declining and the revenue stream is shrinking is no time to be increasing overhead.
In the government sector, when an economy is doing poorly and the revenue stream is diminishing is NO time to raise taxes to cover budget shortfalls. It’s time to examine the paradigm/model currently being used for sustainability.
Corruptocratic cronyism is not even socialism. Even famous socialist Scott Nearing knew that well and adopted the clear credo: “PAY AS YOU GO!”
The fact is, we have more government than we can afford in Mesa County. Directly or indirectly, too much moneys ultimately wind up in the pockets of corruptocrats. For example, I’ll bet substantially more than 50% of Mesa County voters believe somebody should go to prison for the airport boondoggle, but that’s not going to happen. In fact we’re not even going to find out the statistics of public sentiment. Why not? Easy: collectively the Good Old Boy corruptocrats are running things.
O.J.‘s lawyer, Johnny Cochran, once famously said, “If the glove don’t fit, you must acquit.”
Well, I have another hopefully catchy saying: “There is no end to tax and spend!”
IMO, it’s time to give politicians like McInnis the boot. We can no longer afford the amount of government we have, and we can no longer afford Scott McInnis.
Does anybody volunteer to run against him in a recall election?

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