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Colorado Springs asked voters on the April ballot to lift a 30-word limit on future tax-increase questions.

Voters will consider a question on the April 6 ballot to lift the 30-word limit on ballot language seeking tax increases.  

A "yes" vote on Issue 1 would allow the word limit to be lifted. A "no" vote would keep the word limit in place. 

If passed, the city could include more detail on how tax increases will be used and details about the oversight of that spending, Mayor John Suthers said. 

If the question fails, the word limit will stay in place as part of the city's charter. 

The city has considered asking voters to increase a dedicated sales tax for trails, open spaces and parks, and the lodgers and auto rental tax, largely paid by tourists, he said. Boosting those taxes could potentially help increase funding for parks maintenance, he said. For example, an increase to the lodgers and car rental tax could help support some of the most heavily visited parks, he said.  

However, the questions don't poll well if the city doesn't explain in the ballot language how the money will be used, he said. 

The 30-word limit was put in place during the 1990s as part of the city's Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, a measure backed by anti-tax crusader Doug Bruce, but the same limit was not included in the state's TABOR measure, Suthers said. No other Colorado city has the same word limit on tax questions, he said.

A few City Council candidates, including Jay Inman and Olivia Lupia, oppose the change to the word limit. Keeping the tax questions short ensures they are easy to understand, they said during forums hosted by Fox21. 

Contact the writer at mary.shinn@gazette.com or (719) 429-9264.

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