The Catalyst’s Voter’s Guide: What’s on your ballot?

Amendment 73

“Establish Income Tax Brackets and Raise Taxes for Education”

This amendment would:

• Establish a tax bracket system for income tax, replacing the flat tax rate currently in place in Colorado.

  Eliminate increase in taxes for anyone who earns less than $150,000 per year; 92 percent of Coloradans would see little to no increase on their taxes. For earners over $150,000, the rate will be increased from 4.63 percent to between 5 and 8 percent, dependent on income level.

• Raise $1.6 billion for K-12 education to bring Colorado closer to the national average in per-pupil funding.

Why Vote YES:

Colorado has one of the smallest education budgets in the nation and teachers have the least competitive wages of any state. More than half of Colorado school districts have moved to a 4-day school week and increased class sizes to reduce spending. The increased budget allotted by Amendment 73 might attract better teachers and provide more support and resources to students. It may also strengthen Colorado’s economy by supporting a better-educated workforce.

Why Vote NO:

It would increase taxes on higher-earning families and many businesses. Greater taxes may have negative effects on business, especially small business, thus negatively affecting Colorado’s overall economy.

 

 

Amendment 74

“Compensation to Owners for Decreased Property Value Due to State Regulation”

This amendment would:

• Ensure that private property shall not be taken, damaged, or reduced in fair market value by government law or regulation for public or private use, without just compensation.

Why Vote YES:

This amendment gives private property owners more power over their land and weakens eminent domain. Eminent domain broadly means that the government can take private property for public projects as long as they provide compensation.

Why Vote NO:

The language of the amendment is broad and could plausibly be applied to any government action. The unspecific language might leave room for lawsuits that pit government against land-owners, at the expense of tax-payers. More frequent lawsuits can result in increased government stagnation.

 

 

Amendment 75

“Campaign Contribution Limits Initiative”

This amendment would:

• Ensure that if any candidate for state office spends more than $1 million in support of his or her own campaign (or candidate committee), then every candidate for the same office in the same primary or general election may accept five times the aggregate amount of campaign contributions normally allowed.

Why Vote YES:

This amendment levels the playing field for candidates who are not millionaires or billionaires. Campaign contribution limits in Colorado are lower than many other states, positioning poorer candidates at a large disadvantage.

Why Vote NO:

This amendment will result in more “big-money” in politics. Since the most wealthy candidate is more likely to have large donors, this could put the grassroots campaign at a further disadvantage.

 

 

Amendments Y & Z

“Gerrymandering”

These amendments would:

• Both Y and Z create a 12-member independent commission responsible for approving district maps for Colorado’s congressional districts. Y is for congressional districts (federal), while Z is for state legislatures. Traditionally, whatever party is in power influences redistricting to their benefit—this is considered gerrymandering. The amendment attempts make district definition less partisan and has broad bipartisan support.

Leadership:

Four members from the state’s largest political party, four from the state’s second largest political party, and four that are not affiliated with any political party. The final map would require the approval of eight of the 12 members, including at least two members that are not affiliated with any political party.

Parameters:

Districts would need to be competitive, defined in the amendment as having a reasonable potential to change parties at least once every ten years. Measuring competitiveness would entail evidenced-based analyses, voter registration data, and past election results.

 

 

Proposition 109

“Fix Our Damn Roads”

How Much Does it Cost? $3.5 Billion

How Does it Work? It will reallocation of discretionary funds (healthcare, education, veteran programs, housing programs, etc.)

Where Does the Money Go? Select projects on the Department of Transportation’s project list affecting 22 percent of Colorado roads.

Why Vote YES?

Prop. 109 will fix the roads without raising taxes or fees on individuals or businesses.

Why Vote NO?

It asks the state to take on debt without a plan to repay it. Additionally, it would apply to only 22 percent of Colorado roads.

 

 

Proposition 110

“Let’s Go Colorado”

How Much Does it Cost? $6 Billion

How Does it Work?

It will raise the sales tax by 0.62 percent with a 20-year sunset

Where Does the Money Go?

45 percent will go to state transportation initiatives. 40 percent to fund municipal projects, and 15 percent will fund multimodal transportation projects.

Why Vote YES:

Prop 110 will fix roads and other infrastructure, improves public transportation, and creates new infrastructure according to local needs.

Why Vote NO:

A 0.62 percent raise of sales tax doesn’t seem like a lot, but it can add up for low income individuals.

 

 

Proposition 111

“Limits on Payday Loan Charges”

This proposition would:

• Restrict the charges on payday loans to a yearly rate of 36 percent including charges and fees.

Why Vote YES:

Payday lenders charge 126 percent interest rates on loans that are paid back with money pulled directly from wages. This proposition closes the loophole that allow payday lenders to loan money at interest rates of up to 900 percent. The exploitive loan rate increases are considered “predatory lending.” These predatory payday lenders often target minority communities, elderly people, and military families.

Why Vote NO:

Payday lenders contribute to Colorado’s economy and make small loans to people who would not otherwise qualify for loans. If this bill is passed, many payday loans companies will close, making any capital inaccessible to many Coloradans not eligible for prime loans.

 

 

Proposition 112

“Minimum Distance Requirements for New Oil, Gas, and Fracking Projects”

This proposition would:

Mandate that new oil and gas development projects, including fracking, be a minimum distance of 2,500 feet from hospitals, 1,000 feet from schools, and 500 feet from homes.

Why Vote YES:

This will make new oil and gas development in Colorado functionally illegal on private land. Environmentalists are in favor of this proposition as it could encourage the state to pursue renewable energy development and because it will be beneficial for air quality. This proposition may contribute to economic diversification, possibly allowing Coloradans an escape from the boom-bust cycles that characterize fossil fuel industry.

Why Vote NO:

The oil industry is one of the biggest business sectors in Colorado. This bill is expected to reduce GDP by $218 billion and eliminate 150,000 jobs between 2018 and 2030, according to Colorado School of Mines. The job loss will disproportionately affect rural areas.

Charlotte Schwebel

Charlotte Schwebel

Charlotte is a sophomore from New York City who has taken the past two years to immerse herself in the Colorado Springs political community. When she isn't writing articles, she is out making the news. Charlotte is fascinated by current events from campus to Congo. Her go-to's for news are the New York Times, Al Jazeera, and the Washington Post.

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