Politicians spar over proposition 2C

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — One topic on the November 3 ballot has caused a lot of arguments between politicians, because millions of dollars are on the line.

Proposition 2C calls for a .62 percent sales tax increase. It would raise $250 million over five years.

The mayor says all the money is going toward road improvements. Former politician Douglas Bruce says the money from the sales tax increase will go toward a downtown arena.

The city said that’s impossible, which made for a heated showdown.

“If this passes in the next five years, we’ll impact 46 percent of our roads with either an overlay, reconstruction or something called a chip and seal. If you put that on a road in fair condition it will extend the life of the road to perhaps 15 years. If we don’t do anything, 75 percent of our roads in five years will be in poor condition,” said Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers.

“Then they say ‘the funds cannot be diverted for purposes other than capital improvements.’ The ballot title says it’s for roads and improvements. Improvements aren’t necessarily to the roads. An arena is an improvement. A new city hall or anything else that they want to build with the money is an improvement,” said Bruce.

“If you’re opposed to something you go to any argument that you think will help in your opposition,” said Suthers.

“It’s a hot button,” Suthers said. “A lot of people are opposed to a downtown arena. There is no downtown arena. There’s no plans for a downtown arena, but it’s a hot button and they think that if they bring that up that people will not vote for it.”

“There is no law that prevents politicians from spending money any way they want. No matter what they promise. They can spend it any way they want,” said Bruce.

“He cannot point to a single instance where dedicated funds that go into a specific fund, for like public safety or trails and open space, didn’t go there. It does. The city auditor makes sure it does,” said Suthers.

“They’ve already done it. They’ve diverted tax money from its intended purpose nine times already,” said Bruce.

“The city has totally open books. Anybody can inspect the books of Colorado Springs,” said Suthers.

As a voter, you have until November 3 to decide which side is right.

A vote yes for prop 2C would approve the tax increase.

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