There are a great many ballot issues for Colorado voters to consider this year and I'll have a post with my own takes on those issues in early October before ballots arrive around October 19. But, in the mean time, to get you thinking about them, I'll provide someone else's recommendations.
The Colorado Fiscal Institute is a think tank focused on Colorado specific economic issues whose signature publication, which provides background on a wealth of such issues, is the Purple Book. For the most part, it has a good government oriented center-left orientation, a bit like the Brookings Institute nationally, but with perhaps more of an economist's slant.
The CFI has taken positions on six of the nine statewide ballot issues (some of which I agree with and some of which I do not) and I'm reprinting its positions here for your convenience:
Amendment 69 (ColoradoCare): Oppose.CFI supports universal health care and is open to a single-payer system, but believes this must be done at the national level and cannot be done on a state-by-state basis. We're also concerned that the particular financing methods within Amendment 69 rely too heavily on federal approvals that may not come. Many other organizations that support universal care as CFI does also oppose the amendment.
Amendment 70 (Minimum wage): Support.CFI wholeheartedly supports Amendment 70, which would raise the minimum wage to $12 by 2020. This is a modest, phased-in increase in the minimum wage, and the evidence overwhelmingly shows that such judicious increases have little to no effect on employment. Meanwhile, the evidence also shows there will be positive effects on the economy. Increasing the minimum wage is a no-brainer, which is why we are part of a vast coalition supporting the amendment.
Amendment 71 (Raise the bar): Oppose.Supporters of this amendment want to make it harder to amend the constitution by initiative but have crafted a proposal that will simply reserve the initiative process for the billionaire class.
By requiring that signatures come from all 35 state senate districts, Amendment 71 would make signature collection exorbitantly expensive. It also would mean that 1/35th of the state’s population, by refusing to sign a petition in sufficient numbers, could decide that the rest of the state would not get to even consider an issue, even if 34/35ths of the population had signed the petition
While the proposal raises the voter approval requirement for initiated constitutional amendments to 55 percent, it also imposes this requirement for referred measures from the legislature. This is a fatal flaw. Unlike initiated measures, referred measures go through an extensive vetting process, have lots of public input and must achieve the consensus of two-thirds majorities in both legislative houses. Amendment 71 would make it much more difficult for referred measures to pass, even when that measure has been well-considered and fully vetted and might fix a serious and urgent problem, such as one caused by a flawed constitutional initiative.
There are organizations across the political spectrum opposed to this measure.
Amendment 72 (Cigarette tax): Support.This amendment would triple the taxes on a pack of cigarettes in Colorado, and CFI joins the long list of organizations in support. A vast body of evidence shows that increasing the price of cigarettes deters smoking, especially among the young, who are more price sensitive and less likely to become habitual smokers when the price of a pack of cigarettes goes up. Fewer smokers means lowers medical costs for all of us and a more productive economy.
Amendment T (Delete slavery language in constitution): Support.Removes language in the state constitution that currently allows slavery and involuntary servitude to be used as punishment for the conviction of a crime. CFI supports this measure as an important symbolic action.
Amendment U (Property tax exemption for "possessory interest"): Support.Would, beginning with tax year 2018, eliminate property taxes for individuals or businesses that use government-owned property for a private benefit that is worth $6,000 or less in market value. Examples include people who lease land from the federal government for cattle grazing, skiing or river rafting. The value of such a private financial benefit on public land is taxable as a “possessory interest” under current law.
For more information on all these measures, please go to countmeincolorado.com
Background information on all nine statewide ballot issues and one multi-county metropolitan Denver ballot issue is available at the Colorado Secretary of State's website, which also contains contact information for supporters, opponents and registered issue committees.
A complete list of the ballot issues from the Colorado Secretary of State's office, with links to the relevant "Bluebook" language, but without contact information, can be found below the break.