DENVER (AP) — Shoppers in Colorado Springs and Greeley will pay more starting next year after voters in both cities approved sales tax hikes that are expected to bring in millions of dollars for roads.
The Colorado Springs tax, backed by new Mayor John Suthers, City Council President Merv Bennett and other local leaders, passed by a 2-to-1 margin, The Gazette reported.
Shoppers there will pay an extra 6.2 cents for every $10 they spend over the next five years. Utilities, groceries and prescription medications will be exempt.
Suthers told supporters that it’s never easy to raise taxes but he said the need for this increase is very real to improve public safety and promote economic development.
“Colorado Springs will remain a city with a very conservative fiscal government. We will remain the city with the lowest total tax burden of all major cities in Colorado. We want to be a great city and, at the same time, an affordable place to live,” he told a crowd at the Springs Orleans downtown restaurant.
In Greeley starting in 2016, sales taxes on all goods there except groceries will increase by 0.65 percent — an extra 6 1/2 cents on a $10 purchase, the Greeley Tribune reported. Greeley officials have been trying for eight years to pass such a tax and have failed at the ballot twice before. Mayor Tom Norton attributed part of the success to setting an expiration date for the tax this time, along with a better campaign and the improved reputation of the City Council.
Voters in Canon City, meanwhile, narrowly rejected a 1 percent sales tax hike for roads after two previous failures. Incoming Mayor Preston Troutman said if the city asks voters for an increase again, the proposal should include an expiration date.
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