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Montezuma County May Consider Broadband Sales Tax

Sean MacEntee
Creative Commons
  • Would Montezuma County voters consider passing a sales tax if it were allocated to a single purpose such as broadband?

That topic is likely to come up during a discussion on county-wide fiber Monday at the county commission meeting. Expanding high-speed Internet is one of the top priorities of the commissioners and other local leaders, but the cost is daunting: a rough estimate is $27 million to build the fiber-optic “highways” connecting far-flung areas. The commissioners have not decided to put a proposal on the November ballot but Larry Don Suckla has said a tax for broadband could save consumers money because they would no longer need satellite TV and other such services. The commissioners have voiced uncertainty over how much the county could legally seek, but apparently there is no limit. A spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Revenue, Ro Silva, tells KSJD that the state’s longtime cap on total sales taxes in any area was rescinded by the legislature in 2008. State sales tax is 2.9 percent, Cortez’s is 4.05, and the hospital district’s is 0.4 percent, for a total of 7.35 percent in Cortez, the county’s shopping hub. Silva warned there is one caveat: if it fails, a sales tax proposal can’t be put on the ballot again for another two years.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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