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Old 12-10-2010, 12:46 PM
 
808 posts, read 1,180,653 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
That just depends on where Colorado is on "the curve of destruction." It's actually an exponential curve that parallels population growth. California hit the steep part of the curve a few decades before Colorado, and thus has already seen the very nasty loss of quality of life that brings. Unfortunately, Colorado is stupidly following the same curve, just 20 years behind. As our population grows exponentially, so too will our loss in quality of life. The people who believe that California-type problems won't happen here--and won't be here quite soon unless we change course--are horribly misguided.
I'm not going to debate whether large increases in human populations in particular places are good things or bad things (my personal belief is it can be a good thing up to a point after which it becomes a bad thing - where that "point" exists is a matter of personal taste).

What I don't grasp is your statement that Colorado and its current inhabitants somehow have a choice in what our future population will be. It would make sense if we were debating how to best incorporate the additional 3-5 million over the next 30-50 years, or whatever, but to suggest we're "stupid" for allowing the population increase to occur at all leaves me confused. I've always understood the law of our United States to be different from the "old country" in that all non-incarcerated citizens have a sacred right to live wherever the heck they want. I've always understood this precious "freedom of travel" to be the hallmark of any truly "free" citizen - that we will tolerate no King or Pope or Czar or Shogun or Imam or jazzlover or Dictator or Supreme Leader to have the power to decide/force individual citizens to live (or not live) in particular places. Each person decides for themselves depending on their own conscience and best interests. If 5 million+ people decide to move to CO in the coming decades, that's their business, not mine, not yours. Am I missing something?

The US Supreme Court (not my favorite institution) supports this fundamental concept: Saenz v. Roe, 526 U.S. 489 (1999). "For the purposes of this case, we need not identify the source of [the right to travel] in the text of the Constitution. The right of free ingress and regress to and from' neighboring states which was expressly mentioned in the text of the Article of Confederation, may simply have been conceived from the beginning to be a necessary concomitant of the stronger Union the Constitution created."' Id. at 501 (citations omitted).

So you and all other residents of all other places are entirely free to grouse and complain about changes you feel are harmful to your memory of better times. If things get "bad" enough for you, you're always free to pick up your-own-bad-self and move somewhere that suits you better. THAT'S THE BEAUTY OF IT. It's what I did and thank God I'm an American and have the right to do so, which nobody better try to take from me or I'm going straight Red Dawn militant. What none of us are allowed to do (as far as I know) is to actually infringe on anyone ELSE's right to freely travel - and that, I think, is one of the things that make our Country so darn super.

As for me, if I am among your group of "horribly misguided" folks, its a place I'm thankful to be everyday as I'm living a life so spectacularly good compared to what I perceived (correctly, I think) to be available to me where I happened to be born (through no fault of my own I might add). Colorado in its current form may not be perfect or as sparsely populated as it used to be, but its hard to express my gratitude (and daily relief) for what it still is and what I expect it to be for long enough that I fully anticipate my children will not be forced to flee the state in utter disgust. And ultimately, that's all I ask of it, not some idealized version of the past that ain't coming back any more than our own fondly-recalled youth. My needs are fairly simple, however, perhaps more simple than some.

I'd like to think we can co-exist ... those of us who sincerely love Colorado for what it still is and can be and those among us who hate what has already been lost. What the latter group will have to accomplish over my dead body is force me to leave and go back to that other place.

Last edited by smdensbcs; 12-10-2010 at 01:10 PM..
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Old 12-10-2010, 02:42 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,174,647 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smdensbcs View Post
I'm not going to debate whether large increases in human populations in particular places are good things or bad things (my personal belief is it can be a good thing up to a point after which it becomes a bad thing - where that "point" exists is a matter of personal taste).

What I don't grasp is your statement that Colorado and its current inhabitants somehow have a choice in what our future population will be. It would make sense if we were debating how to best incorporate the additional 3-5 million over the next 30-50 years, or whatever, but to suggest we're "stupid" for allowing the population increase to occur at all leaves me confused. I've always understood the law of our United States to be different from the "old country" in that all non-incarcerated citizens have a sacred right to live wherever the heck they want. I've always understood this precious "freedom of travel" to be the hallmark of any truly "free" citizen - that we will tolerate no King or Pope or Czar or Shogun or Imam or jazzlover or Dictator or Supreme Leader to have the power to decide/force individual citizens to live (or not live) in particular places. Each person decides for themselves depending on their own conscience and best interests. If 5 million+ people decide to move to CO in the coming decades, that's their business, not mine, not yours. Am I missing something?

The US Supreme Court (not my favorite institution) supports this fundamental concept: Saenz v. Roe, 526 U.S. 489 (1999). "For the purposes of this case, we need not identify the source of [the right to travel] in the text of the Constitution. The right of free ingress and regress to and from' neighboring states which was expressly mentioned in the text of the Article of Confederation, may simply have been conceived from the beginning to be a necessary concomitant of the stronger Union the Constitution created."' Id. at 501 (citations omitted).

So you and all other residents of all other places are entirely free to grouse and complain about changes you feel are harmful to your memory of better times. If things get "bad" enough for you, you're always free to pick up your-own-bad-self and move somewhere that suits you better. THAT'S THE BEAUTY OF IT. It's what I did and thank God I'm an American and have the right to do so, which nobody better try to take from me or I'm going straight Red Dawn militant. What none of us are allowed to do (as far as I know) is to actually infringe on anyone ELSE's right to freely travel - and that, I think, is one of the things that make our Country so darn super.

As for me, if I am among your group of "horribly misguided" folks, its a place I'm thankful to be everyday as I'm living a life so spectacularly good compared to what I perceived (correctly, I think) to be available to me where I happened to be born (through no fault of my own I might add). Colorado in its current form may not be perfect or as sparsely populated as it used to be, but its hard to express my gratitude (and daily relief) for what it still is and what I expect it to be for long enough that I fully anticipate my children will not be forced to flee the state in utter disgust. And ultimately, that's all I ask of it, not some idealized version of the past that ain't coming back any more than our own fondly-recalled youth. My needs are fairly simple, however, perhaps more simple than some.

I'd like to think we can co-exist ... those of us who sincerely love Colorado for what it still is and can be and those among us who hate what has already been lost. What the latter group will have to accomplish over my dead body is force me to leave and go back to that other place.
No one has said anything about infringing on someone's right to travel. That's a red herring. But any locale or state can exercise considerable control over whether or not or how fast the population grows. It can be done completely legally, constitutionally, and in a way that those of us who embrace efficient, smaller government SHOULD embrace. Simply stated, state and local government in Colorado need only quit subsidizing development with taxpayer money. Fact is, in current Colorado, as I've posted many times before, the developers and their powerful political allies in government have masterfully played the game for decades of privatizing the profits of development (and population growth) and socializing the (ever-inflating) costs of that development upon the taxpayers. That practice in Colorado (as well as California and other states) is a prime reason that state and local government are increasing financial distress.

This happens because the electorate has been brainwashed for decades with the mantra that population growth automatically equates to economic growth and prosperity--such that anyone who stands against population growth is automatically labeled as "anti-prosperity." The truth is that population growth only leads to prosperity as long as natural resources are plentiful and cheap, which is no longer going to be the case in Colorado or anywhere else in this country. So, from now on, population growth is most likely going to lead to DECREASING prosperity for most individuals in this society--the simple math of finite and declining resources having to be divided among more people.

So, if Colorado would "wise-up" and embrace a "no-growth" policy, it's citizens would ultimately wind up better off, not worse. How? Simply by having government actually QUIT spending taxpayer money doing some things, to wit:

1. Eliminate all government funding for ADDITIONAL road expansion. If developers need new road, street, or highway construction because of their development, make them pay for it--all of it, not the taxpaying public.

2. Eliminate all government funding for any new diversion of water supplies from any source to municipal use. Again, if developers want to secure water supplies for their development, then make the developers pay for it.

3. Eliminate government funding of any public services for illegal immigrants--no exceptions.

Those three steps alone would greatly help assure that any population growth that does occur is required to pay for itself and not become a burden upon existing residents. What a concept.
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:26 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 5,858,314 times
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Wink Colorado California dreamin'

I've read so many posts on this thread with a palpable longing. Within them is the American Dream writ large, of dreaming and striving for something better in life. How that is defined is obviously subjective, but common themes from this thread are often an affordable home, a safe neighborhood, good schools, not to mention a beautiful and healthy environment to live within and explore. Something else, key, either stated, or implicit in so many of these posts, has to do with space. With some elbow room, with far more to that than many may imagine.

California has rightly been considered the forerunner of many trends eventually adopted by the rest of this country. It will likely remain so. Thus to be hoped that for all its many present ills that its future might be brighter. For if not, those thinking to escape those influences now will discover them soon enough in their new adopted home.

I used to think I had Los Angeles figured out, at least insofar as I-5 was concerned. On the few occasions there, I learned to drive through LA at about 3am, and it worked like a charm. But that was years ago, and by latest reports seemingly I would not like the traffic anytime, day or night. I also remember visiting a modest, but not awful, neighborhood there, and what I still recall most vividly were the obligatory steel bars on every door and window on every residence everywhere. That, and also the police helicopters with searchlights forever on patrol every single night.

LA is a beautiful place. If my personal preference remains northern California, most particularly the mountains, then I must admit that the Los Angeles basin enjoys many charms. But they were far more evident many decades ago when my parents briefly lived there. When the overall population was less, when the air more clear, the nearby mountains far more visible. When life there was more a question of living than existence.

I still love California. Most definitely certain areas that many Californian's might be surprised to learn even exist, and share very few of the many ills that the larger urban areas often do as a matter of course. But I am reminded every time I drive from Nevada into California of how much has changed with time, and this might be measured alone in the appreciable increase in traffic near the border. Not even necessarily near Reno, NV, either, but even the remoter regions of the Sierra Nevada. California is a quite large and diverse state, moreover many areas not nearly as congested as many urban dwellers would imagine, because their context is elsewhere. Nevertheless, near 37 million inhabitants will have an impact, and does.

The citizens of Colorado can, and should, learn from the experience of another which in many respects represents their not so distant future.

In example, one might experiment by taking a hike. Now would be a fine time. Particularly for anyone living along the Front Range, the excursion should prove edifying, and quite likely pleasant. It is colder now, of course, although some hardy souls can always be found in the remoter places. What they know, and anyone else might discover, is that hiking or otherwise enjoying such places is distinctly different from summer to winter, and I am not speaking of the snow or weather. This is a fine time because your favorite trail or spot is likely nearly so or empty, serene and quiet. If liking activity and companionship, and far more of it, then the warmer months of summer will inevitably provide it.

The principle is no different on the roads, or with traffic. Awful traffic is often cited by those wishing to leave California. If usually better in Colorado, it has certainly not improved with time. I-25 is a good case in point. Newer arrivals do not have the context, but it was not that long ago where the more rural stretches of this interstate were relatively lightly traveled. Sparsely so, by California standards. That is sadly a thing of the past now. If not strictly awful, at least more usually on most of this interstate. Anyone wondering what it was more usually like can still venture south of Pueblo to the New Mexico border to gain some context. Anyone having traveled I-70 on ski weekends will have their own stories.

The point is that population is not an entirely relative thing. It does make a difference. LA could again be a pleasurable place to live for most, but only so if many millions subtracted from its overall population. Since the predominance of population resides along the Front Range, Colorado is in a sense a tale of two states. However every advantage or ill of the Front Range is usually lived by residents in remoter corners of the state, only to that degree less so.

This states population of some 5 million is forecast to be 10 million by 2050. While some would welcome such growth, those remembering a Colorado of but half 5m, not that long ago, will know that if projections be true that no one today would recognize their home by mid-century. Or at least not in the same way, with the comparison most likely largely negative. The feeling perhaps much as Californian's today in seeking something other.

Not to say that necessarily will happen, or thankfully could. This present deep, and quite possibly prolonged, recession is a reminder why. Much of the population of Colorado, not to mention that of projected growth, is highly dependent upon a paradigm which is rapidly changing. Peak Oil is a dawning reality that many wish to ignore, but no one will be able to. The effects will be felt throughout Colorado, this nation, and world. Suburbia will be forever altered, cities as well in how they adjust. Rural Colorado will feel the impact in many ways, with agriculture as one, being highly dependent upon fossil fuels. Therefore all that we speak of of what Colorado is or may become will be tempered and shaped by forces few have yet adapted to.

There is every reason for anyone in this life to seek the idyllic and perfect, even if knowing that in this imperfect world that such realities are best touched in dreams. But on the ground it remains possible, in part. Many have discovered that in no more than moving that they have measurably improved their circumstances and standard of life. That is real. It remains as pivotal to the American Dream that one might improve their life, with travel to distant and more favorable locals central to this theme. While still possible, to an extent, one might remember that America's frontier was officially declared closed and gone in 1890. We are long beyond that, and even the smaller islands of wilderness and wild places are being invaded. We have largely run out of room to roam, any other place more often being a facsimile of that left behind, and perhaps most importantly we ourselves little different in the exercise. Our next frontier may lie not so much in travel, but in what we next choose to become and make of this home, our planet Earth, and every small corner upon Her.

So many have spoken of their dreams and aspirations, of hopes they bring to Colorado, and life they intend to works towards, hopefully realize. It is still possible in part. Although no one should fail to recognize that in just such aspirations how Colorado has evolved to what it is today, for good or ill, and become in future. Just one more individual or family moving here for a better life, one more baby in families here, now larger. One by one, by two, and now 5 million. Each and every one of us has an impact, and makes a difference.

Aspen is a lovely place. One reason so is because it and its home of Pitkin County have long since developed some plan for growth, or more exactly little of it. This is achieved in part through reverse osmosis of sorts. In this free country anyone might travel there, but fewer do or vacation due the high prices, with even fewer able to actually live there. It works for Aspen to an extent because they are wealthy enough to outsource some of the more problematic realities of existence, such as laborers who must necessarily live far removed. But if not perfect, lessons here as well.

At the time of statehood in 1850, California's population was about 90,000. By 1900 it has mushroomed to about 1.5 million. One hundred years later, near 34 million. All else being equal, its population would continue to expand, as it is an often fecund land. But all else is not equal, nor in Colorado, not in this world. That suffered in California due immigration, much of it illegal of late, is no less suffered by Colorado, only in smaller measure. There is no reason the effects to either might not become all the worse in time. As with the citizens of Aspen, those of Colorado can choose to exercise some control over their destiny which, no matter what else, is trumped by population.

This world of ours has a global population of about 7 billion, expected to have expanded past 9 billion by 2050. That is unsustainable. Grossly so if the objective is for everyone on this planet to enjoy a modicum of a civilized life. For natives of Colorado, aspects of this place that your grandparents took as a matter of course are already but memories. Many aspects that we accept as such now will be as gone if growth remains the only mantra. Population alone dictates many aspects of a place, and of the life there. That, and that alone. No different than the optimal carrying capacity of any road, whether less so, over all too many in traffic congested.

It cannot be escaped. This refuge many dream of exists in the fragile state of what it might become. It can be over-loved, over-subscribed. At times I myself sound like a member of the Chamber of Commerce. There are so many varied and wonderful aspects of this land. But the reality also that, as with all else, it remains finite.

All whom dream of a life here might come, and in so doing learn that the grass is not always greener beyond the horizon, nor life always easy in such a place. They might also learn that, like it or not, that we are increasingly citizens of this world. Colorado will best thrive when all upon this planet do as well.
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Old 12-12-2010, 01:07 PM
 
625 posts, read 1,154,158 times
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Quote:
Simply stated, state and local government in Colorado need only quit subsidizing development with taxpayer money. Fact is, in current Colorado, as I've posted many times before, the developers and their powerful political allies in government have masterfully played the game for decades of privatizing the profits of development (and population growth) and socializing the (ever-inflating) costs of that development upon the taxpayers.
While I agree wholeheartedly that govt. should not subsidize physical growth, I don't think changing these policies would have the effect you anticipate, or the effect would be thru some serious consequences (more below).

First off, while some developers have gotten away with unbelievable subsidies (such as the $300 million tax giveaway by Loveland), for the most part developers are paying plenty to develop in Colorado - anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 per single-family home PLUS having to dedicate water rights on the annexation of new land. So overall they don't get away with much and generally pay their own way (more or less - probably many theses could and have been written on this topic).

Second, if people want to come to Colorado, but we refuse to allow more housing, more infrastructure, then the result would be that the people here compete for that existing housing and infrastructure - housing gets more expensive, roads and schools get overcrowded, the cost of doing business goes up. That is the only mechanism I can see by which land use controls and spending decisions will reduce population growth. So ask ourselves if this is a desirable outcome. Will your kids be able to afford to live here? (Those who've read my other opinionated posts know I don't support more highways but rather public transit when I say "infrastructure.") I admit if done society-wide, making life more expensive and difficult could slow the birth rate - witness Spain or Italy's low birth rates.

Is 1 million more people a good thing? I won't say yes or no - overall I like medium sized cities with little sprawl and more inward development so am not thrilled about rapid growth of the Denver area, but ... When I lived in Fort Collins, I liked that Fort Collins embraced its future role as a "small city" rather than trying to stay a small town - for me if the growth is done right, it can mean a more vibrant, culturally and economically diverse city that supports a wider range of culture, food, music; parks, cultural amenities and public transit; and a more robust job market making it easier for people to stay in one place while switching jobs or advancing careers (particularly for two income families). I am not interested in replicating elsewhere Boulder's high housing costs, aging housing stock, extensive commuting (mainly by single-occupancy vehicle) and the fact that 30% of the population are students.

About the only policy I can think of that might slow growth is a harder stand on immigration, but that has its own pitfalls and would only affect a small part of growth, being as CO is a destination for U.S. residents and there is also natural increase (births) which, while at replacement level, will still provide "demographic momentum" for a few more decades. I would also point out that after taking this land from previous occupants, it seems a bit selfish to then try to keep all others out.

I agree world pop growth needs to slow and reverse, and all trends point that it will as birth rates are declining below replacement not just in the first world, but also in "middle income countries". But the pop decline won't be in our lifetime. I think we will be challenged coping with the peak population of the earth (9 billion humans) along with global warming.

I think we really need to take a page from Oregon, rather than Boulder, and decide how we want to grow, rather than tilt at windmills thinking growth can be stopped. I can say there are places with metro populations of 3-5 million that are great places to live.

I think where you are correct about undue developer influence is the developers' and Realtor's enormous campaign against Oregon style growth management, which they waged in 2000. It seems to me misguided, as even under growth management homes get built and sold. So I don't mean to give developers a pass here - their political activities have been hurtful to Colorado.

Last edited by docwatson; 12-12-2010 at 01:15 PM..
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Old 12-16-2010, 02:17 AM
 
49 posts, read 133,617 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smdensbcs View Post
True, CO does not look "the same" as when my grandfather left ranch homestead (outside of Wray) in the 1920's to make his way in the "big city" (Denver), but as someone who's seen the demographic-economic forces affecting both places, folks in CO should be down on their knees in thanks for how good we still have it here. Of course, that's not how humans do things. We just complain no matter what, unless we've actually seen worse.
Smdensbcs: Thank you for your comments; I agree with all of them.

I wanted to share that in the past weeks, I have spoken with a couple of residents whose families have lived here for decades, and a man whose family dates back to the late 1800s. Because Durango is so beautiful now, I figured that in days past, it was even nicer. But these men ALL said to me "Durango used to be a hell hole! The trappers and hunters killed everything in sight, decimating the food source, the mines polluted the rivers, so there were no fish, the loggers cut down all the trees, and the smelters created a constant brown-haze over the valley. Finally, things began to change in the 60s, and Durango is now a prettier and nicer place to live than it has EVER been."

How refreshing to hear such honesty from long-time residents!

In contrast, CA was beautiful up until the early 70s. In the 80s, things began to decline rapidly, and now, I don't even want to visit. I love living in Colorado and appreciate it so much. These ARE "the good old days".
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Old 12-16-2010, 11:55 AM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,174,647 times
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Originally Posted by justmyopinion View Post
Smdensbcs: Thank you for your comments; I agree with all of them.

I wanted to share that in the past weeks, I have spoken with a couple of residents whose families have lived here for decades, and a man whose family dates back to the late 1800s. Because Durango is so beautiful now, I figured that in days past, it was even nicer. But these men ALL said to me "Durango used to be a hell hole! The trappers and hunters killed everything in sight, decimating the food source, the mines polluted the rivers, so there were no fish, the loggers cut down all the trees, and the smelters created a constant brown-haze over the valley. Finally, things began to change in the 60s, and Durango is now a prettier and nicer place to live than it has EVER been."

How refreshing to hear such honesty from long-time residents!

In contrast, CA was beautiful up until the early 70s. In the 80s, things began to decline rapidly, and now, I don't even want to visit. I love living in Colorado and appreciate it so much. These ARE "the good old days".
Well, a legacy of the past is about to visit its bitter harvest on Durango. After the mines closed in Silverton years ago, the conventional wisdom was to seal the mines to prevent contaminated water from entering the Animas River drainage. Well, all of that water has been building up--and absorbing more contaminants--for lo these last few years. It is now highly contaminated and very acidic, and now it's starting to seep out from many unexpected places and enter the Animas River. Well, according to people I know who are studying this problem, the contamination plume is approaching Baker's Bridge north of Durango, which is also near where Durango gets its municipal water supply.

Expect to see the mine areas up around Silverton get on the Superfund list, a mega-million dollar cleanup started--and all of it too late most likely to stop the Animas River--and all the municipalities dependent on it in Colorado and northwestern New Mexico--to have some pretty major water quality problems. I wonder what all the granola-crunchers, trustifarians, and newcomer equity locusts in Durango will think about all that . . .

Oh, and if gold keeps going crazy in price, expect to see a resurgence of mining in the San Juans . . .
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Old 12-16-2010, 12:24 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
1,627 posts, read 3,629,790 times
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Maybe the problem isn't just people moving to Colorado from California (or wherever)...maybe the problem is people in America and on this planet having TOO MANY BABIES. I know. Earth shattering, right? Can we leave it at replacement levels for a while (voluntarily, people) and be done with it?

Last edited by zenkonami; 12-16-2010 at 12:51 PM..
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Old 12-16-2010, 01:08 PM
 
2,755 posts, read 11,541,271 times
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Originally Posted by zenkonami View Post
Maybe the problem isn't just people moving to Colorado from California (or wherever)...maybe the problem is people in America and on this planet having TOO MANY BABIES. I know. Earth shattering, right? Can we leave at replacement levels for a while (voluntarily, people) and be done with it?
Actually I think we are pretty much at replacement levels already, or very close to, and the birth rate continues to drop. Our population increase is almost entirely driven by immigration.
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Mammoth Lakes, CA
3,089 posts, read 6,657,749 times
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To answer the OP's question: there is one reason, usually, why Californians retire to Colorado: TAXES.

I live in Southern California and pay $8,000 a year on property tax. For the same square footage and far more acreage in Colorado, I'd pay about $1500. For people on a fixed income, that savings is substantial. State incomes tax is less in Colorado and Colorado does not tax pensions. So there is another savings.

If I would retire to Colorado right now from California, I would save about $16,000 a year just on taxes. That is HUGE!
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:28 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,174,647 times
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Originally Posted by Ulysses61 View Post
To answer the OP's question: there is one reason, usually, why Californians retire to Colorado: TAXES.

I live in Southern California and pay $8,000 a year on property tax. For the same square footage and far more acreage in Colorado, I'd pay about $1500. For people on a fixed income, that savings is substantial. State incomes tax is less in Colorado and Colorado does not tax pensions. So there is another savings.

If I would retire to Colorado right now from California, I would save about $16,000 a year just on taxes. That is HUGE!
The problem is that it can't stay that way--and it won't over time. Why? Because Colorado is making all of the same mistakes that California did--not making growth pay its own way, loading the state up with a lot of non-productive citizens that are or will become a burden on public services, chasing out a lot productive industry in favor of low-wage service industries, and pursuing taxation policies (for over 25 years now) that basically undertax consumptive activities (like Colorado's residential property taxes that are insufficient to pay for the services those residences consume) and overtax productive activities such as industry. So, Colorado is headed for even more severe fiscal crises, which will result in severe cuts in public services (including such "niceties" as law enforcement, fire protection, etc.) and/or large tax increases. Colorado Constitutional provisions may fend off the latter for awhile, but eventually people will be willing to vote for tax increases rather than see a total collapse in public services. That big wreck is on its way, and the "chumps" who think they can move here and avoid taxes like they had/have "back home" are going to get a big surprise within a few years.
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