Email letters, Oct. 20, 2011

Palisade Volleyball story was missed

I wanted to take a moment to say that I was disappointed in the coverage that the Palisade volleyball program received in the paper on Oct. 19. There were many fine stories from their recent game against Delta, yet out of all the local volleyball teams, they received 4th billing in the morning paper.

The gym was filled with pink clad students, creating a loud, exciting atmosphere not often seen locally in high school sports outside of football games. This season the Palisade volleyball program has raised and will be donating $1,000 towards breast cancer research and treatment. Players played in memory of and in honor of those who have been affected by the disease, and many people being honored were in attendance.

In addition to these facts, by beating Delta, Palisade won their first outright Western Slope League title since 2004. They were led by Audrey Steinkirchner who had 31 kills to tie yet another school record. Jenny Thibodeau, who played outside hitter for 3 years before making the switch to
libero, led the team again in digs. Both players are four year starters playing in their final regular season home game. 

This is in no way intended to disrespect the efforts of the other local volleyball programs and the hard work they have put into their seasons. It just seems that an excellent story that deserved to be told was overlooked by The Daily Sentinel.


Air Force training noise is the sound of freedom

Bill Grant is all upset that the Air Force may be running a Low Altitude Tactical Navigation training area in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.  The aircraft involved are the C-22 Osprey and C-130s fitted for aerial refueling for the Ospreys.  The training flights, some as low as 300 feet, are to simulate the conditions and topography in Afghanistan.  We have the “Peaceful Skies Coalition of Taos” and the “San Juan Citizens’ Alliance” objecting to this, as well as Bill Grant.

Fears expressed are “possibly causing adobe structures to collapse or spurring avalanches,” “potential fuel leaks and 40 tons of greenhouse gases expect to be expelled,” “noise rattling the window panes,” “stampeding cattle, startled wildlife and sacred tribal ceremonies interrupted by the sound of military airplanes.”

Demands are being made for a full Environmental Impact Survey vs. the Air Force’s Finding Of No Significant Impact after an initial environmental assessment; the basis for Grant’s complaint of a “FONSI scheme worthy of Wall Street.”

Can this be more NIMBY (not in my back yard)?  The Air Force needs to train for the terrain in Afghanistan.  While some of the fears expressed might, maybe, possibly be valid, I cannot object to the sound of freedom supplied by our aircraft; here or elsewhere.

Grand Junction

9-9-9 plan would change every year

Regarding a 9 percent income tax: The top one percent ($373,650 gross) is 18 percent average with all the legal deductions, so that would give them a 50 percent cut. The middle class, 25 to 28 percent after deductions, would get an even bigger cut.

The 43 percent that pay no taxes, after all the deductions, would get a 900 percent increase.

Regarding a 9 percent sales tax: Each state is different, ranging between 3 to 8.5 percent.

A 9 percent consumer tax would be an advantage to the rich and middle class.

The result: Comparison with the total budget outlay with no deficit will vary from year to year. The overall 9 percent could go up to ten or twelve, or some where between, so the name of the plan will have to be changed every year.

Grand Junction

Tax increases for education is necessary

District 51 has implemented creative and, in some cases, drastic measures to help “do more with less” as its budget has been repeatedly slashed: staff positions have been eliminated at every level, instructional days have been cut, classes are overcrowded and school libraries and computer labs have shortened their hours. We’re barreling toward a cliff and voters are being asked to help step on the brakes before we plunge over the edge.

We have two chances this election to apply the brakes: Measure 3B and Proposition 103. Both are designed as temporary tax measures to offer short-term relief while more permanent solutions are crafted.

In recent years, Mesa County property values have declined; most residential property owners will see a reduction in the property tax they owe next year, even if the 3B mill levy override is approved. But local property taxes only account for about 35 percent of the District 51 budget in 2011–2012; state funds comprise more than 60 percent of this year’s budget. Further cuts from the state will have serious consequences, offsetting some of the gains we make by passing 3B. Without 3B, further cuts from the state will be devastating.

Proposition 103 is designed to prevent additional cuts at the state level for the next five years. The income and sales tax rates proposed by Prop 103 are the same tax rates that were in place in Colorado during the 1990s (a time of economic prosperity), and they are still some of the lowest in the nation.

I am a concerned citizen as well as a parent volunteer who has spent many hours in our schools over the past 12 years, and I fully support both 3B and 103. Please take the time to calculate the actual financial effect these measures will have on you. Will you make this investment in our students, our community, and our economy? More important, can you afford the hidden, long-term costs of not making this investment?

Grand Junction

3B will hurt every household

I am dismayed by the push by School District 51 to ram through Referred Masure 3B, the mill levy override. The school district has marshaled the teacher’s union, and they have used their own website to advocate a tax raise on the citizens of Mesa County in what is, at best, an unfair use of public funded resources and, at worst, a conflict of interests.

The net effect of 3B will have the exact opposite effect which its advocates purport. Funding for schools in Mesa County is effected by the local economic climate. Budget adjustments have been required as jobs have left the area and the general economic conditions in Colorado have deteriorated.

One of the reasons companies have fled our area is because of the unfriendly tax base in Mesa County. Companies that would like to settle here find the tax rates and regulations unreasonably high and burdensome and opt to go to a nearby state that has lower taxes, and a more business-friendly environment.

As businesses flee Mesa County, so do tax revenues, and the workers’ children, who might otherwise be enrolled in School District 51. This is the dirty little secret that all of the gung-ho advocates for the passage of 3B have kept hidden. Businesses will receive tax hikes much greater than private residences. There will be small local companies that will be greatly harmed by the dramatic increase in property taxes resulting from 3-B. Revenues to county coffers will decrease as businesses close up or leave the area entirely, and more school funding will also leave along with the children of the employees of the small companies that are literally pushed out of the area due to yet another tax hike. It is time to draw the line on raising taxes.

School District 51 cannot continually return to the citizens of Mesa County to demand more and more of their hard-earned money. The school district needs to pare down its expenses, as we all have during these hard economic times, and live within a budget that does not depend on squeezing the life out of taxpayers and pushing businesses into other states. 3B will negatively impact every household in Mesa County. And to many of our small businesses, it will have lethal consequences. “No” on 3B.

Grand Junction

Prop. 103 will only make things worse

Proposition 103, the only statewide initiative on this year’s ballot, is a $3 billion tax increase that will do far more harm than good. Proponents claim that the revenue generated from raising the business and personal income tax rates, and the state sales tax rate, will be used to offset cuts in education funding. However, as a statutory measure, there is no way of guaranteeing that the money will go to education; the reality is that the money raised from these rate increases — like the rest of the money from state sales and income tax — will go into the general fund, to be disbursed however the legislature and the Joint Budget Committee decides.
Regardless of how it may be allocated, the fact remains that the money taken from the families and businesses of Mesa County will be on a one-way trip to Denver. Due in part to the bureaucratic mesh of State government, and in part to the funding formula in effect for the state’s school districts, little, if any, of the money would filter down to District 51.
More important, however, is the economic damage that would be done to Colorado by these higher tax rates. A study by Portland State University economist Dr. Eric Fruits demonstrated that, if implemented, Proposition 103 will cost Colorado as many as 30,500 jobs by 2017. That’s an awful lot of wages not circulating — and tax returns not being filed — over the projected minimum 5 years that these rates would remain in effect.
Economic growth and higher employment are the only way to truly solve state-funding shortfalls — by slowing that growth, 103 will only make matters worse. I urge voters to do the right thing and vote “No” on Prop 103.
Grand Junction


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