Prop. 101 backer: Shut libraries, sell light rail

STEVEN K. PAULSON Updated: October 1, 2010 at 12:00 am • Published: October 1, 2010

DENVER — A supporter of three tax measures on the Colorado ballot says state and local governments could close libraries and put their books online and sell off light rail to cut spending if the measures pass.

Gregory Golyansky, vice president of the Colorado Union of Taxpayers, told students and professors from the University of Colorado Denver on Friday that printed books are going away and light rail is 19th-century technology.

"Do we really need to fill our prisons with nonviolent offenders, drug offenders, prostitutes and what not? We will have about two-thirds less people in our prisons. Government doesn't need to be involved in building golf courses or exercise facilities or ice rinks. Libraries are going away. Paper books are the yesterday technology, being replaced by online information. Government should stop subsidizing things like light rail. It's essentially a 19th-century technology," Golyansky said.

Jim Frye, a CUT board member, said cities like Colorado Springs that have cut off streetlights, halted cleanup in city parks and cut bus service on weekends are trying to stick it to voters for cutting their revenues.

"Those types of things are very visible to you. I'm from Aurora and they see the same thing out there. They do these dismal things that mean a lot to folks and they don't target other areas to become more efficient. I really kind of resent when they do those kind of things, in our face, if you don't do what we want, we're going to do what we want to do," said Frye.

Aurora spokeswoman Kim Stuart said her city has cut spending by ordering furloughs, reducing library hours and closing four libraries.

"We understand it's painful, but we've also positioned ourselves to steady the budget and we don't have major reductions in next year's budget," she said.

A Colorado Springs official did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Opponents of the measures — Proposition 101, which would reduce automobile and telecommunications taxes; Amendment 60, which would cancel voter-approved tax-limit overrides; and Amendment 61, which would limit municipal borrowing and bar state debt — said state and local governments face draconian cuts if the measures pass.

Henry Sobanet, a consultant for the opponents, said supporters should ask voters what services they want to cut instead of changing the constitution with saccharin-sounding messages that take advantage of voter anger at the federal government, which is a separate issue.

Golyansky refused to say who wrote the initiatives, despite a judge's ruling that anti-tax activist Douglas Bruce was behind them. Bruce has been ordered by the judge to give a deposition by Oct. 8.

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