Notes from the Chair - November 1, 2017

I'm going to make this as short as possible. I'm voting "no" on 1A.

Now before you get all riled up, take a deep breath and continue reading.

For those of you who followed me for years on these very pages, you already know what I'm going to say. For those who didn't, here goes: Don't ask me for money until you tell me how you're going to spend it. I want details. I'm not interested in promises. "It goes without saying" is not a substitute for saying it. Because in the end, if we don't know what we're getting up front, then we will be sorely disappointed at what we get at the end.

It's always been curious to me why elected officials don't seem to understand the need to present a clear picture of what they're proposing. And my automatic reflex when they don't is to be suspicious.

I wonder, for example, who will comprise this committee that will be the decision-making body of this health initiative? Reference to this committee is only made by the proponents. The ballot language makes no reference to it, yet we are to take it on blind faith that we will be satisfied with the end result.

Then there's no sunset. Red flag alert. Every new tax should have a sunset, at which time we should be given the opportunity to review its value and determine its future. Does anyone out there remember the open space tax that has outlived its usefulness but provided no means for removal?

And what about the facility? I've heard varying statements that range from, "We already have that covered" to "I'll get back to you." Really? Is that a good enough answer for you? Call me crazy, but it isn't for me.

Additionally, most of the initial money is meant to fund new positions. I've heard two.

I've also heard five. Come on, guys. You want my vote? Give me specifics so I can make an educated decision. Or am I once again to roll over to the notion that government knows best.

I could go on — and on — but you get the picture. Voters have a right to know what they're voting on, and that includes the details. If they aren't provided, then there can only be two answers as to why not: Either they don't want us to know or they haven't thought it through enough to know the answers. Either choice is offensive and manipulative.

I think we can all agree that if, indeed, a crisis exits in Eagle County, we must address it and we will. But I would pose this question: If a crisis does exist and it is, in fact, urgent, then why have the commissioners not solved it before now with a simple expenditure from the general fund? We don't need a tax increase at this time to solve a critical issue. After all, there appears to be in excess of $50 million sitting around waiting for an emergency. Isn't that the very reason for having a contingency fund?

Finally, I want to be clear. Of course our hearts go out to all of those in need. And those with mental issues deserve special concern because their challenges are not nearly as obvious as physical ones, so they often are not addressed. But I will continue to be firm in my position that while we need to address this issue, bad (and unclear) legislation is never the answer. And I would underline never.

So while the Republican Party is very sympathetic to the mental health challenges in Eagle County, it is important for us to point out the flaws in the proposed legislation. Many pertinent components have been left unclear or have been left out entirely, which is a cause for great concern. We should never vote to fund any tax increase unless the details are clearly spelled out.

I believe in finding solutions, so here's my suggestion: Vote "no" on 1A.

• Ask the Commissioners to fund the startup costs from the general fund.

• Open up the discussion to the voters in Eagle County.

• Develop a detailed proposal addressing mental-health issues in Eagle County.

• Bring another vote forward with clearly identified goals, procedures and funding options.

That's how we should solve problems.

 

Kaye Ferry

Eagle County GOP Chair

kaye@kayeferry.com

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