Tuesday, November 10, 2009

RTD Tax Increase in Trouble

The defeat of Aurora’s library tax increase highlighted the metro voters’ cautious mood.

The loss has major impact for a possible 2010 or 2011 regional sales tax increase for RTD. Ed Tauer, mayor of Aurora, engineered the library election as a finance strategy to help balance the city’s books. Tauer is the leading advocate for a RTD tax increase. Earlier this year, he advocated putting it on this November’s ballot.

The RTD tax was in trouble before this new dour election environment. The 2004 sales tax campaign over-promised and under-delivered by a factor of 100 percent. RTD now wants to double the 2004 tax increase.

RTD’s raison d’être has been significantly undermined by unusually aggressive columns in the Denver Post, questioning both the reason for mass transit expansion and RTD’s honesty and competence.

As I said in the Denver Post Nov. 5 election article by Jessica Fender, “The drama of the losses in terms of taxes is going to put tremendous chill on the forces who want to put something on the ballot – Even 2011 is in question.”

The Denver Post then editorialized on November 6 the loss “could mean significant trouble for large taxing districts and governments like RTD.” The new election environment compounds RTD’s already substantial problems.

(See other Denver Post and New York Times articles)

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