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Colorado's emergency-response teams burned by anti-tax attitudes

Stashed in: Economics!, Politics!, Colorado

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Colorado Springs has become a high-profile test case for restricted government spending. At least 346 homes have been destroyed by a wildfire, and almost 35K residents (out of 416K) were evacuated -- with 50 fewer police, no police helicopters, and 39 fewer firefighters to handle the emergency.

There are two fascinating points in this article:

* Half of the tax revenue of this town comes from sales tax.

* The mayor claims that emergency response was unaffected by the reductions. Also he believes that the budget problems of his town were caused by too many pensions (presumably of public workers such as mayors and firefighters) and TOO MANY PARKS. Tourism is the 3rd biggest economic sector and 2nd biggest employer -- after the Federal government, which is first in both areas. The city has aggressively applied for Federal funds for wildfire management, and also for disaster relief.

Although of course it's sad to see a city and region suffer, the social scientist in me can't help being fascinated by what will happen politically in Colorado Springs after this tragic emergency.

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