Tax Cut Plan Divides Colorado Voters

 

A controversial tax-cutting amendment continues to show support from a majority of Colorado voters, a recent poll shows, but support is down from the numbers shown early in the 2000 election year.

That's good news to most state and local government officials opposing it, but prime sponsor Douglas Bruce, a Colorado Springs businessman and perpetual government critic, is still optimistic the plan will prevail on Nov. 7.

Bruce blueprinted a plan, called TaxCut2000, that would require a cut of $25 each on utility taxes, telephones, pagers and cable television, gas and electric services, motor vehicle registrations and state income and local property taxes.

And the tax cuts would grow by $25 each year until the taxes are eliminated.

Despite predictions that the proposal, if passed, would severely cripple special districts, such as fire and park districts and those established for weed control, voters seem inclined to support it. A recent survey shows Amendment 21 has support from a slight majority of voters.

Of 500 voters polled, 53 percent said they "somewhat'' or "definitely'' endorse Bruce's plan. But opponents have raised nearly $1 Million to defeat it, gathering $325,000 in just two weeks.

Bruce's backers are struggling, having raised contributions totaling less than $10,000. But Bruce is undismayed, scoffing that fat-cat influence peddlers are eager to beat him, while ordinary taxpaying citizens are not tipping their hands and will eventually win.

"Everyone who spends tax dollars or depends on the government for favors ... is going to kick in,'' he said. "All the millionaires and billionaires and the elitists at the top (who) have learned to manipulate government don't want any tax relief for us peons.''

In their campaign report, opponents are shown to have gotten a dozen donations of $10,000 or more, which included $20,000 from the Denver Broncos, who are in the process of collecting some $340 million for their new stadium, to be completed next year.

Bruce's critics say the rate of collections against the amendment will continue to grow as voters consider its implications. Leading the charge is the Colorado Association of Realtors, contributing $50,000.

Bruce says he believes many voters don't respond to pollsters and don't fully trust government, and that may cause support for his amendment to be higher than is reflected.

While the 53 percent is obviously a majority, support is down from a poll earlier, where 77 percent of Denver metro-area favors favored the Bruce proposal.

 
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