Colorado Springs’ Do-It-Yourself Government

Source: Zach Patton, Governing, September 2010

The citizens of Colorado Springs must decide how much they want from their government, and how much they’re willing to pay for it.

…Times are tough in the Springs, as veteran residents call it. Like cities throughout the country, this town has been hit hard by the recession. But its fiscal problems are especially severe. The city is famously right-wing, and property taxes here are some of the lowest in the nation — in 2008, the per capita property tax was about $55. City revenue instead comes mostly from local sales taxes. As a consequence, Colorado Springs is feeling the downturn’s effects faster and more sharply than other cities. At the close of 2009, the city found itself facing a nearly $40 million revenue gap for this year.

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