NORTH 1102 LTE Baker responds


Downtown incentive a mistake

I was troubled by a glaring misstatement, minimizing and omission in Bill Christopher’s column in the Westminster Window of October 26, 2017.

When speaking of incentives to developers at the New Downtown, Mr. Christopher said of the diversion of property tax increases from schools: “school districts are made whole in the loss of tax increment financing from state government”.

This is untrue. The State government only makes up 27 mills of the missing property tax and those dollars are taken from other State spending.

The other missing revenue is gained by quietly raising the taxes on all other taxpayers in the district without a TABOR vote. The Urban Renewal paper I co-authored “The Empty Promise and Untold Cost of Urban Renewal in Colorado,” contains a table provided by the Adams 12 School District that clearly show the losses.

Jeffco Public Schools lose twice at Westminster’s New Downtown. First, they lose the tax increase and must quietly raise the taxes on all property. Then, they must educate new students from all the housing at the New Downtown. Before the Westminster Mall never sent any children to school.

We must put his minimizing of the complete and total loss of the increase in property taxes to Jefferson County into perspective. Counties provide some of the most expensive government services to the public: jails and courts, social and Human services. The New Downtown will require more of those services. Jeffco must provide those services but will lose the property taxes that pay for those services until 2037.

Finally, there is the omission of Mr. Christopher’s relationship to a campaign. Mr. Christopher signed as the Registered Agent in the Report of Contributions and Expenditures for Herb Atchison’s campaign.

I value reading other people’s opinions but please insist in the accuracy of statements made and be transparent about any bias on the part of the author.

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