Club 20 hosts meeting on state finances |

Club 20 hosts meeting on state finances

About 130 community leaders from several surrounding counties will gather at the Sheraton Steamboat Resort on Thursday to look for solutions to Colorado’s fiscal challenges.

The town meeting is one of a dozen being hosted across the state by Club 20, which describes itself as the voice of the Western Slope.

Reeves Brown, executive director of Club 20, said there won’t be any presenters at the meeting. Instead, his organization is interested in hearing the opinions of local leaders regarding elements of tax policy that have been adopted into the state’s constitution during the past two decades.

Brown acknowledged one of the purposes of the meetings is to determine if there is a statewide consensus for altering portions of constitutional amendments that have made it increasingly difficult for the Legislature to pass a balanced budget.

“Any solutions will have to bubble up from participants,” Brown said. “We’ve made a real effort not to skew the (meeting’s direction), or even to suggest the machine is broken. Certainly, there will be some who think everything is fine.”

“Club 20 does believe there needs to be changes made,” Brown said. “But not an overhaul. We think restrictions on government growth are positive.”

Problems have arisen, Brown said, because of the combined effects of several amendments and the increased impact they have in a down economy. The measures Brown is referring to include portions of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) and the Gallagher Amendment, which determines the share of the state’s overall property tax burden that is shouldered by residential and commercial property owners. Voters rejected one set of changes to Gallagher last month.

Other measures that will be on the table include Amendment 23, which requires the Legislature to increase sate funding for public education annually, indexed to inflation.

Brown said those attending will work in small groups and the collective suggestions of the entire town meeting will be compiled on the spot and shared with the group.

For information, call (970) 242-3264.

— To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail

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