An Eagle County voting guide for those driven by pragmatism over politics
I’ve been called a “socialist pig” by folks on the right, and I’ve been told that I “have blood on my hands” by folks on the left. These types of comments go with the territory when you run a chamber of commerce that is active in advocating on behalf of the community. But my favorite comment was from a friend who called me a “radical centrist”.
I like to think a radical centrist is someone who votes person over party and who looks at ballot initiatives and tries to determine how it impacts our community, our businesses, and our quality of life. I wear the radical centrist tag as a badge of honor and encourage you to remember your community and our small businesses when you cast your ballot. With that in mind, here’s a radical centrist’s guide to the November ballot:
Prop 121: Reduce state income tax
- Pro: more dollars in taxpayers’ pocketbooks; would not reduce state spending the first two years because it would offset TABOR refunds
- Con: would jeopardize the delivery of state services, likely negatively impacting education & transportation funding
A radical centrist will consider the benefits and impacts when casting their ballot.
Prop 123: dedicated state income tax revenue for affordable housing programs
- Pro: Provides dedicated funding for housing without a tax increase; Colorado faces a housing shortage, affordability a major concern for talent attraction and retention
- Con: no guaranteed revenue when TABOR rebates are not in place
A radical centrist will vote yes on Prop 123 to help make a dent in our affordable housing crisis by providing funding and pushing local communities to meaningfully engage in the process.
Prop 124: an equal number of liquor licenses for drug stores, grocery stores, and liquor stores, and Prop 125: allow wine sales in grocery stores
- Pro: more options for customers
- Con: favor larger chains and puts smaller mom-and-pop stores at a disadvantage
A radical centrist will consider the negative impacts on our locally owned and operated businesses relative to the convenience of one shopping trip.
Prop 126: third-party delivery of alcoholic beverages
- Pro: continues the successful cocktails-to-go model piloted during the pandemic; a great source of revenue for restaurants, especially small ones.
- Con: could disadvantage small liquor store owners
A radical centrist will look at how this might support our locally owned restaurants and provide opportunities for niche delivery services.
Formation of Eagle Valley Regional Transportation Authority
- Pro: Fare-free transit service to reduce traffic congestion and parking demands from Edwards to Vail, including Avon, Beaver Creek, Minturn, and Eagle-Vail; Fare-free transit service between Eagle and Gypsum through a circulator to better connect those communities and to access ECO Transit; limited-stop express service at peak workforce commute hours.
- Con: funded by a half-penny sales tax
A radical centrist recognizes that improving our transit system helps get workers to their jobs, seniors to medical appointments and shopping, and kids to school and recreational activities and knows this is long-overdue and necessary to support our workforce and improve the livability of Eagle County and will vote yes.
Lodging tax to support local workforce
- Pro: providing dedicated funding for workforce housing and early childhood initiatives, two issues of importance to Eagle County
- Con: increases lodging taxes, potentially impacting visitation
A radical centrist will balance the importance of our tourism economy with the importance of providing a dedicated funding source for housing and early childhood.
I hope you’ll embrace your own inner “radical centrist” by considering both sides to each issue and the impacts on our small businesses when casting your ballot.
Chris Romer is president & CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at VailValleyPartnership.com