E-mail letters, Feb. 11

End liquor monopoly and preserve coal plant

First: the state should correct the legal fix presently in effect that restricts competition in the sale of liquor. Most industries and businesses in this country do not have special legal advantages, which cost every consumer hard-earned money, and neither should the local liquor shops. The law should be changed to allow more competition.

Second: Xcel Energy should continue to use coal to generate power in its Cameo plant, even if it must upgrade the facility to be more efficient. Coal is several times as efficient for generation of electricity as solar energy. As such, to convert from coal to solar costs ratepayers significantly. And, since a federal and/or state subsidy is included, taxpayers also are injured by the feel-good concept.

Furthermore, coal mining and transportation employ many people in relatively high-paid jobs, which would be lost by the transition to solar power. Also, The state and/or the feds would lose millions of dollars of royalties. So, the switch to alternate energy is a lose, lose, lose proposition. Rep. King and Sen. Penry are on the correct side of this issue, and should stick with it.

Perry W. Bilyeu


Help protect access to our public rivers

House Bill 1188 is a crucial step in the right direction to protect pubic access to Colorado’s rivers. Although this bill is worded to protect Colorado’s commercial rafting industry, it will also help to protect the recreational river running public. If this bill fails to pass many, if not all rivers in Colorado, could become off-limits to the public. All that is required is for a private property owner to own one acre ( 1 foot ?) that crosses a river and they could do the same as the owners of the Wapiti Ranch in Gunnison County are attempting to do, stop all access. No more boating, recreational or commercial.

Bill Grant’s Feb. 10 column, “Freedom-to-float bill deserves quick passage in Legislature,” does a much better job of discussing the issues that this bill tries to address than I can, but he does stop short in addressing the fact that if the Wapiti Ranch is successful in stopping commercial river companies access, it also means that it will stop recreational river access — not only on the Taylor River but on rivers throughout Colorado. I doubt that there is a river or stream in Colorado that doesn’t have a spot where someone owns both sides of some part of it.

The commercial river industry adds $124 million to Colorado’s economy. How much more does the recreational river public add to this total through the purchase of river equipment, gas, food and lodging to our economy.

The owners of the Wapiti Ranch claim that this is a taking of a private property right. I strongly disagree. It is an attempt by a private property owner to take a public right — long-established and increasingly popular right to enjoy one of Colorado and the West’s most spectacular recreational opportunities. I urge all those who know what I’m talking about and those who would some day like to know to support this bill.

David P. Christensen

Grand Junction

Freedom-to-float bill takes property rights

I read with interest the article by Bill Grant on the freedom-to-float bill. The stance by Mr. Grant did not surprise me, given his consistent anti-private property rights as well as his anti-energy and anti-business positions.

I am not a land baron, but I am like hundreds of other property owners along rivers. We don’t just claim ownership to the banks and bottom of the river but we actually do own and pay taxes on these river properties.

While I personally have no objection to water craft floating through my property, I do object when floaters stop and do the following activites:

Steal my boats, camp out, fish, hunt, sunbathe, barbecue — all without permission.

We have spent thousands of dollars improving wildlife and fish habitat and it is simply wrong for floaters to take advantage of this without putting forth one dime. Private floaters, as well as commercial fishing operations that charge a substantial fee to their customers, park their boats, get out and wade through private property. So who is being

greedy here?

Preserving private riparian property and habitat should be a judicial, not a legislative matter. What Mr. Grant seems to support is a taking of those property rights.

Michael Short


Tax credits for hiring are premature now

The Feb. 11 editorial expressing cautious appreciation for a House bill that includes tax breaks for businesses that hire people who have been unemployed for a long time is understandable, but questionable.

Our problem right now is lack of business. That’s why businesses lay people off and aren’t pursuing expansion and/or improvement plans.

I understand that if a business was running slightly understaffed and the tax break makes the difference between hiring a person or not. But more than one person? That might indicate the business was there but the owner chose not to be able to capitalize on it with insufficient staff. Will tax breaks cause him to have an optimistic change in attitude and decide to now hire people?

Will incentives to hire people cause a turn-around in business? That seems to me to be putting the cart before the horse. When the business is coming back and there is an outlook for further improvement, I think the tax breaks make sense to accelerate and expand recovery. Tax breaks cost money to the Treasury.

Money spent for projects that require hiring people seems to me to be a more direct and sensible way to put people back to work. There is a customer spending money in new orders that require adding people to fulfill the contract. That also costs money the Treasury doesn’t have but there is more certainty and immediacy to it. And a tangible product.

Will businessmen, in the patriotic spirit of helping move the economy, hire people if the business is not there and there is no particular reason to hire until it starts to return or there is a strong reason to expect better times very soon? Business spending follows expectations of business. Added employees add to money in circulation and more potential business in the aggregate, but later.

John Borgen

Grand Junction


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