Routt County election notice contained misprint about Steamboat’s referendum 2B
October 14, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Don’t be confused. Local referendum 2B, the education tax, is a renewal of an existing tax, not a tax increase.
Routt County's Tax Payer Bill of Rights notification booklet, the white pamphlet mailed to voters that contains information and analysis of local ballot issues, contained an error that said the measure would increase taxes in the city of Steamboat Springs.
This is not the case. 2B is a 10-year renewal of an existing half-cent sales tax. Revenues from the tax are placed into the Steamboat Springs Education Fund, which is distributed to schools through a grant process to pay teacher's salaries, classroom technology and educational programming in and out of the classroom. If not renewed, the tax will expire at the end of 2019.
The mistake was the unintentional result of a copy-paste error as the booklet was compiled and printed.
"Per TABOR, a tax increase has to include some information related to the city's revenue and spending, and somehow, that information got duplicated and reproduced in the 2B section of the TABOR notice," said City Attorney Dan Foote. "2B is not a tax increase, so that information is not required."
Routt County Clerk and Recorder Kim Bonner said in an email that the mistake initially occurred as a printer copied and pasted the financial information for referendum 2A, the airline tax, into 2B, the education tax. The mistake made it into the final booklet after the city's designated election official did not proof the final draft and respond to the printer.
The Routt County Clerk's office will not re-issue the TABOR booklets but has posted a notice of the error on its elections information webpage.
"Our concern is that the voters have the correct information, and that they understand it is not a tax increase, that it's a renewal," said Jeanne Mackowski, a proponent of the measure.
The error in the TABOR notice is highlighted below.