City GRT proposal not necessary

Water is the lifeblood of civilization, and something that is in short supply in eastern New Mexico.

It should go without saying that most members of the High Plains Patriots (a local tea party group) are in favor of securing a renewable water source for our community. This fact has somehow been distorted in the conversation over a gross receipts tax increase proposed by the Clovis City Commission.

Often issues like this seem to stray from the facts and play on emotion and fear. Genuine concern by the public regarding fiscal responsibility shouldn’t be demonized by local leadership.

The High Plains Patriots simply believe that the facts presented by City Commissioner Randy Crowder in “A Better Plan” (available at www.highplainspatriots.com) is the best option to fund this project. This plan shows that the funds needed for the water project are already available without burdening the taxpayers any further during the worst economic downturn in our nation’s recent history.

We are already battling extremely high gas prices as well as increases in groceries, and other consumable goods.

A gross receipts tax increase will only further aggravate the struggle of family budgets, not to mention small businesses.

City officials say the 1/4 percent tax increase proposal voters will decide on Tuesday will only go for the Ute pipeline project. However, this project will only be built if federal funding is secured. So what happens if the project doesn’t receive federal funding? Will the city have collected all these tax dollars just to sit in some account instead of leaving those dollars working in our local economy?

Remember we’re talking about $1.5 million per year leaving our local economy. Those dollars are no longer available to local businesses to hire employees or expand their facilities, or consumers to use on that occasional night out. In short, higher taxes stifle economic growth.

Our local leaders have said that many needs such as the landfill expansion wouldn’t be met if this tax increase is not approved by the voters. However, we were told that our garbage fees just significantly increased were due to this need. We were also told that a 1/4 percent GRT increase passed in 2004 would be used to help fund this water project, which only about 8 percent to date has been used for that purpose. We’ve been threatened that we must either approve this GRT increase or the city will raise property taxes; “pick your poison.”

This simply isn’t true and is proven out in Commissioner Crowder’s plan.

It’s time to quit drinking the Kool-Aid, start asking questions and thinking for ourselves. If you believe the city of Clovis has a spending problem rather than a taxing problem, then you may want to consider voting no in the upcoming special election.

And if local leaders continue to demonize the taxpayers of this community over legitimate concerns, you may want to remember municipal elections in March of next year when half of our commissioners and mayor will be up for re-election.

Let’s remember that this is government, by the people, for the people, and of the people.