By Charlotte Schwebel and James Hanafee
Colorado Ballot Propositions
Proposition CC eliminates the cap on revenue mandated by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). TABOR stipulates that all revenue above a certain ‘cap,’ the population- and inflation-adjusted amount that the government spent in 1992, must be refunded to citizens. If the cap is eliminated, new revenue will be used to fund improvements in education and transportation. Before TABOR, Colorado ranked 35th in the country for college and university spending as a percentage of personal income; now, the state ranks 47th. Opponents of Proposition CC believe eliminating the cap functions as a tax raise, and any tax raises should be approved by a ballot measure rather than by eliminating the TABOR cap.
The Colorado Water Plan, fully formed but currently unfunded, would enable urban and agricultural water conservation initiatives; stream and watershed restoration; and new water storage technologies. Proposition DD aims to legalize and tax sports betting in Colorado in order to fund the Colorado Water Plan and gambling addiction services. The proposition is supported by some gambling organizations and environmental groups. Opposition comes from some concerned that the amount of gambling addictions will rise, although some supporters contend that legalizing betting will allow addicts to seek help without fearing legal repercussions; environmentalists who object to the dams laid out in the Water Plan form another sector of the opposition.
Colorado Springs Ballot Initiatives
BALLOT ISSUE 2C:
2C extends a Colorado Springs sales tax first enacted in 2015 for five more years. The sales tax was created to fund road repairs and reconstruction within the city. Revenue raised from the initial sales tax increase has allowed for the repair and reconstruction of over 1000 miles of roads. The improved quality of roads has reduced vehicle damage claims by 90%. This year’s extension reduces the tax from 0.62% (6.2 pennies on a $10 purchase) to 0.57% (5.7 pennies on a $10 purchase). Groceries, medications, and gas are exempted from the tax.
BALLOT ISSUE 2B:
2B would allow Colorado Springs to retain $7 million over the TABOR revenue ‘cap’ to fund improvements to parks, trails, and sports complexes. The $7 million allocated to these restorations comprise the revenue generated by Colorado Springs that must be refunded to taxpayers under current TABOR provisions. Some parks and trails that will be restored by the increased revenue include Palmer Park, Monument Valley Park, Red Rock Canyon’s Mesa Trail, and the Legacy Loop trail.
Colorado Springs School Board District 11 Candidates
Coleman has served on the D11 Board of Education for three years. She advocates providing teachers with a greater support system and professional development opportunities in order to increase student achievement. She also supports offering greater transportation opportunities so families have greater flexibility in choosing a school that suits their children.
Daniels is a businesswoman and substitute teacher in D11. She has served on the D11 District Accountability Committee and School Accountability Committee. She aims to address issues facing D11 by building rapport with the superintendent, fellow board members, and school employees.
Shelton is a former D11 student and current Program Assistant at Inside Out Youth Services, which provides services for LGBTQ students. Shelton believes in broadening programs assisting low-income students and also proposes expanding the school board to include one student representative from each high school in the district.
Sargent is a former D11 student and currently attends Pikes Peak Community College. He is invested in increasing student retention rates in D11 by instituting a new college-style schedule and offering credit reimbursement for part-time and full-time work. He also believes in fostering partnerships with businesses to provide internships and apprenticeships for students.
Jorgenson was a teacher in Colorado Springs D2 for 10 years. He believes in more equitably allocating resources to each school in the district and addressing the district’s low retention rate. To solve this issue, he advocates for greater teacher support and building an empowering culture for students.
Melpakam has served as chair of the D11 District Accountability Committee for the past two years. Melpakam believes in creating a more balanced and supportive curriculum that integrates Social-Emotional Learning and assists students from underprivileged backgrounds. He also advocates for expanding student access to technical or vocational training.
Puzick has worked in public education for 32 years, including a stint with the Colorado Department of Education. Puzick believes in instituting a curriculum that provides equal resources for artistic expression; pursuits in the STEM field; personalized learning; civic education; and athletic activities.
Wallis is a member of the School Accountability Committee in D11. He is interested in engaging all community members to implement the district’s most recent Strategic Plan. He believes in updating curricula to better encourage curiosity and creativity, and advocates for more individualized classes to suit different students’ needs.