El Paso County Sheriff Sales Tax Increase Question (November 2012)
If approved, this question would authorizes El Paso County to increase sales tax by approximately .23% in order to raise $17 million dollars a year for the funding of public safety needs as requested by the El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa. This additional revenue would be used to fund Law Enforcement needs, Criminal Justice needs, Emergency Response needs. If this question is approved it would require the Sheriff to report annually on all of the revenue and expenditures resulting from this tax increase.
|1A-El Paso Public Safety Tax|
Election results from El Paso County Current Election Results Summary
Text of measure
Language on the ballot:
|“||SHALL EL PASO COUNTY TAXES BE INCREASED BY APPROXIMATELY $17 MILLION ANNUALLY TO DIRECTLY FUND THE URGENT PUBLIC SAFETY NEEDS IDENTIFIED BY EL PASO COUNTY SHERIFF TERRY MAKETA, THE CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL SERVING ALL RESIDENTS OF THE CITIES, TOWNS AND UNINCORPORATED AREAS WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF EL PASO COUNTY, AS CRITICAL TO PERFORMING HIS STATUTORY OBLIGATIONS TO ALL EL PASO COUNTY RESIDENTS, BY INCREASING THE COUNTY’S SALES AND USE TAX RATE BY TWENTY-THREE HUNDREDTHS OF ONE CENT ($0.0023) PER DOLLAR PURSUANT TO PART 1 OF ARTICLE 2 OF TITLE 29, COLORADO REVISED STATUTES; WHICH NEEDS ARE SPECIFICALLY IDENTIFIED IN THE AREAS OF LAW ENFORCEMENT, CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE, WITH ALL REVENUES GENERATED TO BE RESTRICTED TO THE FOLLOWING AND USED FOR NO OTHER PURPOSE:
1. LAW ENFORCEMENT NEEDS
WITH THE SHERIFF REQUIRED TO REPORT ANNUALLY TO THE CITIZENS OF EL PASO COUNTY ALL REVENUES AND EXPENDITURES RESULTING FROM SUCH TAX INCREASE; AND A CITIZENS’ ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO REVIEW ALL REVENUES AND EXPENDITURES RESULTING FROM SUCH TAX INCREASE; WITH ALL REVENUES GENERATED AND THE EARNINGS ON SUCH REVENUE TO BE COLLECTED AND SPENT EACH YEAR WITHOUT LIMITATION BY THE REVENUE AND SPENDING LIMITS OF, AND WITHOUT AFFECTING THE COUNTY’S ABILITY TO COLLECT AND SPEND OTHER REVENUES OR FUNDS UNDER, ARTICLE X, SECTION 20 OF THE COLORADO CONSTITUTION; WITH SUCH SALES AND USE TAX INCREASE BEING COLLECTED, ADMINISTERED AND ENFORCED PURSUANT TO EL PASO COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS RESOLUTION NO. 12-309; WITH SALES OF GROCERY FOOD ITEMS, PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS, FUELS FOR RESIDENTIAL UTILITIES AND OTHER GOODS AND SERVICES IDENTIFIED IN RESOLUTION NO. 12-309 BEING EXEMPT FROM SUCH SALES AND USE TAX INCREASE; WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE SHERIFF CAN AT ANY TIME RECOMMEND TO THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS A REDUCTION OR ELIMINATION OF SUCH SALES AND USE TAX INCREASE; AND WITH AN EIGHT-YEAR SUNSET PROVISION, SUCH SALES AND USE TAX INCREASE TERMINATING WITHOUT THE NEED FOR FURTHER ACTION ON JANUARY 1, 2021?
Those who support the increase of sales tax and increased sheriff budget argue that the money is truly needed to provide services to the entire county. The also point out that as population has grown by 60% since 1990 and calls for service have increased by 137%, while there are only 9 deputies per shift covering 1,898 square miles, patrol deputies and citizens are at risk because of slower response times and insufficient staffing.
Those who oppose the increase in sales tax argue that spending reform is required not a larger budget as the sheriff already gets 47% of the county general fund budget. They point out that there are many personnel on staff who receive larger salaries than the governor does and that many staff attorneys are overpaid and urge voters to take the side of keeping money in the local economy instead of throwing more of it into government spending.