If you are traveling or relocating to Colorado, how do you find out more about the state, its history and its people? Local agencies often leave out information that gives you a true sense of the place. Here are five important things about Colorado that you might not find in the current literature.
Perhaps the greatest misconception and selling point used by local chambers of commerce is that Colorado has 300 days of sunshine every year. True, the weather is sunnier when you come to a semi-arid climate that is five thousand feet closer to the sun. Semi-arid means less rain, which means less clouds, which … You get the picture. The truth is that any day with at least forty-five minutes of sunshine is included in that count. In spite of the exaggeration, remember to pack sunglasses, use plenty of sunblock and, most importantly, drink a lot of water to avoid altitude sickness.
If you are not a skier or a football fan, you are not as likely to be included in the local small talk. Your best bet is to read up on Bronco history, get acquainted with John Elway's career and know that the Orange Crush was not just a soft drink. If you are a skier, you should know that you never buy a lift ticket at the mountain resort. Only greenhorns are willing to pay that kind of price. Travelers in the know figure the best time to ski in Colorado is during a Broncos game.
Just one in three people, who live here, were actually born here. We are a transient state with the largest group of invaders from Texas and California. What that means to you is that no one ever goes the speed limit, turn signals are considered optional equipment and last minute cell-phone users barreling through the intersection always have the right of way. Since locals are such a minority and cities post only the altitude of their community, do not bother to ask the populations of any city. No one really knows. If you did not study up on the Broncos, a good conversational opener is: Where are you from originally?
Politics in Colorado is similar to many states with a single large metropolitan area. Denver is liberal and has a sizeable gay community. The rest of the state is conservative or ultraconservative in the case of Colorado Springs, center of many evangelical Christian groups. We recently voted in Governor Bill Ritter, making it the first time in forty years the Democrats have controlled both the governor and house of representatives. Regardless of political affiliation, nothing gets citizens more up in arms, or gets a Denver mayor kicked out of office, than uncleared streets during a winter blizzard.
Taxes in Colorado are high or low compared to other states, depending on your sources. Whatever figures you are given, those who relocate need to look for the big items, like income tax, property tax and state and local sales tax rates. Do not forget local occupational taxes for the privilege of working in a particular city, property tax on vehicles and the gas tax, since you will be doing a lot of driving to get up to the mountains. Travelers are stung most by the sales tax. Denverites have the right to vote on every proposed tax increase, which, amazing as it may sound, they approve on a regular basis. Beginning in 2007, the Denver sales tax rate is 7.72%. Restaurants, coffee shops and liquor stores charge 8.1%. There is no tax on groceries. If you are staying in a hotel or renting a car, be prepared to pay 14.85% and 11.35%, respectively.