Colorado voters may find their minds swimming this week when ballots arrive and they are faced with a near record number of statewide amendments. The proverbial “Blue Book” that arrived in voters’ homes in recent weeks was fair warning.
A number of these proposals could have an effect on residents of the San Luis Valley and we encourage all voters to do their homework to make an educated decision when voting, not just look at the hype bombarding you through your mailbox and television.
We have an opinion on a few of the proposed amendments but will rely on the Action22 board of directors to help you make a decision on how to vote based on their opinion of the potential economic impact some of the measures would have on the communities in their 22 Southern Colorado counties.
First, those not covered by Action22, and taken from an analysis by Ross Kaminsky, morning personality on Denver talk station 630-KHOW:
Amendment 75- Support
Would limit campaign contributions for statewide (non-federal) candidates.
Amendment 111- Oppose
Would reduce the maximum allowable interest on pay day loans. We oppose this because these are sometimes the only option for some residents of the SLV and those issuing these risky loans are entitled to fair compensation.
Now for Action22’s position on the other amendments:
Amendment X – Support
Marijuana - Changes the definition of industrial hemp from a constitutional definition to a statutory definition.
The Action22 Board views this measure as an important step in protecting the economic interests of those in rural Colorado who are exploring investment in industrial hemp.
Amendment Y – Support
Redistricting measures - Establishes an independent commission for congressional redistricting
The current system for congressional redistricting is extremely susceptible to partisan influence. Action22 considers this measure the optimal response to the broken system currently in place.
Amendment Z – Support
Redistricting measures - Establishes an independent commission for state legislative redistricting.
As previously stated, the current system must be changed on a state as well as federal level.
Amendment 73 – Oppose
Taxes and Education - Establishes tax brackets and raises taxes to fund education
Action22 stolidly supports any additional education funds going directly to classrooms and increase in teacher pay. There is no indication this amendment would accomplish that. The lack of accountability in the initiative could instead exacerbate the current system of disproportionately high administrative costs. This does not represent the changes that are needed for our educational system. In addition, considering other tax increases currently being proposed, this BOD sees this tax increase as economically detrimental to the entire state with an opposite than intended effect for education.
Amendment 74 –Oppose
Property and Fracking - Requires that property owners be compensated for any reduction in property value caused by state laws or regulations.
In a passionately split decision, the Action22 Board voted to oppose Amendment 74. While Action22 is a long-time staunch supporter of protecting private property, appreciates the principle of this measure and applauds the efforts of Chad Vorthmann, the board feels it far too sweeping in its current form. Primarily, they are concerned about potential litigation and the resulting burden said litigation could place on rural local governments.
Proposition 109 – Support
Bond issues and Transportation issues - Authorizes bonds for transportation projects without raising taxes.
Transportation has always been a priority for Action22. As a state, we can no longer afford to put this issue on the back burner. Every effort should be made toward “Fixing Our Damned Roads.”
Proposition 110 – Support
Taxes, Bonds, and Transportation - Authorizes bonds for transportation projects and raises taxes to repay the debt.
We reiterate, our transportation problems, especially our roads, have become dire and we can no longer wait to address them. If both 109 and 110 pass, we will look to the Colorado General Assembly to ensure the intentions of the voters align.
Proposition 112 – Oppose
Setbacks - Mandates that new oil and gas development projects, including fracking, be a minimum distance of 2,500 feet from occupied buildings and other areas designated as vulnerable.
In the only unanimous vote, the Action22 Board of Directors adamantly opposes Proposition 112. Action22 does not see 112 as an effective environmental measure, but rather as economically devastating for the entire state. We agree, if passed, “Not only would it cost thousands of jobs, but it would cost billions in actual economic impact.”