30 September 2016

A First Glance At Colorado's 2016 State and Regional Ballot Measures

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.

Amendment T
Referred to the voters by the state legislature
No Exception to Involuntary Servitude Prohibition
Amendment U
Referred to the voters by the state legislature
Exempt Certain Possessory Interests From Property Taxes
Amendment 69
2015-2016 Proposed Initiative #20
State Healthcare System
Amendment 70
2015-2016 Proposed Initiative #101
State Minimum Wage
Amendment 71
2015-2016 Proposed Initiative #96
Requirements for Initiated Constitutional Amendments
Amendment 72
2015-2016 Proposed Initiative #143
New Cigarette and Tobacco Taxes
Proposition 106
2015-2016 Proposed Initiative #145
Medical Aid in Dying
Proposition 107
2015-2016 Proposed Initiative #140
Presidential Primary Election
Proposition 108
2015-2016 Proposed Initiative #98
Primary Elections
Ballot Issue 4B
Referred to the voters by the Denver metro scientific and cultural facilities district board
Denver Metropolitan Scientific and Cultural Facilities District
Appearing on ballots in the following counties: Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Boulder, Denver, Douglas (except Castle Rock and Larkspur), and Jefferson.


andrew said...

Democratic Party of Denver endorsements are as follows:

Statewide Ballot Questions

Amendment T No exception to prohibition of slavery or involuntary servitude YES

Amendment U Exempt certain possessory interests from property taxes NO

Amendment 69 Create and implement a state health care system (Colorado Care) YES

Amendment 70 Increase the Colorado minimum wage to $12.00 per hour by 2020 YES

Amendment 71 Requirements for initiated constitutional amendments NO

Amendment 72 New cigarette and tobacco taxes YES

Proposition 106 Allow medical aid in dying to the terminally ill YES

Proposition 107 Change to a winner-take-all delegates presidential primary election (from Caucus) NO

Proposition 108 Allow Unaffiliated voters to participate in Colorado primary elections NO

Denver Ballot Questions

Referred Measure 2A Retain .03% voter approved Denver preschool program tax increment, through 2026 YES

Referred Measure 2B Make the Independent Monitor a Denver Charter position, for the purposes of monitoring investigations of uniformed personnel YES

Ballot Issue 3A Approve a $56.6 million mill levy for educational purposes, including expanding early childhood reading programs, providing more mental health, expanding technology access, provide teacher support and training, expanding college and career programs YES

Ballot Issue 3B Approve a $572 million DPS bond ($61m annually) to improve school buildings, expand technology, address overcrowding, provide cooling systems, provide security cameras and updated alarm systems, and expand early childhood programs YES

Ballot Issue 4B Reauthorize the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) Tax YES

Initiated Ordinance 300 Pilot program for public marijuana use in "Designated Consumption Areas" YES

andrew said...

The official information packet concerning ballot issues called the "Blue Book" for the 2016 general election can be found at:


andrew said...

The official summary of the Judicial Performance Commission's recommendations concerning judicial retention elections in 2016 is found here: http://www.coloradojudicialperformance.gov/retentionlist.cfm?year=2016

It recommends retaining all but two judges: one trial court judge in a rural district and one trial court judge in a district that includes Adams County.