Group backs away from tax ballot in ’14

DENVER – Voters will not see a sales tax increase for transportation on their ballots this November.

MPACT 64, a group of civic leaders from each of the state’s 64 counties, decided this week that poll results have been too pessimistic to continue with their effort this year.

The group had conducted polls on the popularity of a statewide sales tax increase to 3.6 percent, up from a current 2.9 percent.

People who answered the poll didn’t think the increase was too steep, said Jim Gunning, mayor of the Denver suburb of Lone Tree and chairman of MPACT 64.

“They really didn’t see seven tenths of a cent as onerous to them. What did come from the poll is this isn’t the time to raise taxes,” Gunning said.

The group will meet in March tom analyze the poll in detail and consider its next steps.

Gunning said polls have many encouraging signs for transportation advocates.

Voters throughout the state value both quality roads and mass transportation, Gunning said.

In rural areas, safety upgrades and safe routes to school are especially popular.

Voters’ sound rejection of Amendment 66, an income tax increase for schools, did not factor into MPACT 64’s decision, Gunning said.

“This is completely different than education. I really don’t think the voter draws a line from education to transportation,” he said.