2020 Ballot Measures
The Garfield County Democrat Party, along with the Colorado Democratic Party, support the following amendments and ballot measures.
Amendment B - YES
Gallagher Amendment Repeal and Property Tax Assessment Rates Measure
Amendment B is a bipartisan plan to protect small businesses from higher property taxes and
to save schools, first responders and rural communities from deeper budget cuts--
without increasing the property tax rate for homeowners.
Amendment B would repeal the outdated Gallagher Amendment passed by voters in 1982, which ties residential property taxes to commercial property tax rates. Gallagher’s somewhat complicated formula requires that commercial properties are always billed 29% of their building’s assessed value and that homeowners never pay more than 45% of the statewide property tax total. Thus, when business values fall -- as they do during a recession like the one we are experiencing now due to the pandemic -- residential property taxes must also be lowered to maintain the 55/45 split, while small businesses continue to carry the greater burden. This may seem like a boon to homeowners, but because so many essential state-supported services are funded by property tax revenues, Gallagher’s negative consequences
are far reaching for everyone.
Amendment B would help ease the dramatic tax shortfall expected to hit schools, fire districts, hospitals, and local governments (including police departments). In such uncertain times,
essential services like these are needed more than ever.
For more info: Yes on Amendment B
Amendment 76 - NO
Citizenship Requirement for Voting Initiative
Amendment 76, a Constitutional Amendment, if approved, would principally affect primary elections. Currently 17-year-olds who are US citizens and registered to vote in Colorado are allowed to vote in primaries if they will be 18 by the general election day. Amendment 76 would prohibit that. Amendment 76 could potentially disenfranchise or discourage younger voters.
The more pointed aim of Amendment 76 is to limit the right to vote in any election (even, say, a local school board election) to citizens. Federal election laws prohibit noncitizens from registering and voting in federal elections, but they make no mention of state or local elections.
Currently, the Colorado Constitution protects the right of every citizen to vote, but it does not specifically deny the right to noncitizens. Colorado’s election laws already spell out voter eligibility. Therefore, the current language in the Constitution is adequate: it protects the integrity of our elections while not precluding the future ability of municipalities to run their local elections as they deem best for their communities.
For more info: Ballotpedia: Vote NO on Amendment 76
Prop EE - YES
Tobacco and E-Cigarette Tax Increase for Health and Education Programs
Proposition EE closes a major loophole in the taxation of tobacco products. It imposes a new state tax on nicotine vaping products while also increasing existing rates on cigarettes and other tobacco products.
The new vaping tax and higher taxes on other tobacco products will increase incrementally between 2021 and 2027, when they will be fully phased in. Most of the revenue generated by the taxes will be applied to much-needed funding for education in the state.
In the first three years (2021-2023) the bulk of the new revenue (about $375 million) will be allocated toward K-12 schools and rural education. Between 2023 and 2028 the vast majority of the money generated (some $2 billion) will be used to fund preschool programs. Other uses of the revenue will include affordable housing and a variety of tobacco education and public health programs.
Colorado desperately needs more school funding, especially for preschool, which is unaffordable for many working families.
For more info: Vote Yes on EE - For Colorado Kids
Prop 113 - YES
National Popular Vote Interstate Compact
Proposition 113 would affirm the bill passed by the Colorado legislature and signed by Governor Polis in 2019 that commits the state to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). Members of the NPVIC agree to award their electoral votes for the president to the winner of the overall national popular vote, even if that total is different from the result in their respective states.
The compact is not yet in effect, as it needs at least 270 electoral votes from its member states to become binding. To date, 14 other states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation to join the compact, for a total of 187 electoral votes. If Proposition 113 passes, Colorado would add nine more.
Five times in our history (three times in the 19th century and again in 2000 and 2016) the winner of the presidential election did not receive a majority of the popular vote. This was because, under the current system, all electoral votes in each state are cast for the candidate who wins that state’s vote. Thus, the outcome of each of those national elections was ultimately determined by a small number of “swing” states.
The NPVIC is dedicated to the principle of one person, one vote. It will guarantee that the winner of the national popular vote will become the next president. The compact affirms that every person’s vote counts equally. It would also encourage candidates to campaign more widely, rather than concentrating on just a handful of swing or other “battleground” states.
For more info: Yes on National Popular Vote
Prop 115 - NO
22-Week Abortion Ban
Proposition 115 would ban abortions after twenty-two weeks with NO exceptions for rape, incest, fetal diagnoses or the health of the mother.
Coloradans have consistently trusted pregnant women and their families to make personal decisions about their pregnancies. Prop 115 would take that decision-making power away from women. Supporters of Prop 115 have explicitly stated that a direct goal of the proposition is to force a woman to carry her pregnancy to term, regardless of circumstances.
Prop 115 is a deceptively-worded measure and a dangerous and extreme attempt to limit abortion care and a woman’s right to choose what is best for her and her family.
For more info: Vote NO on 115
Prop 116 - NO
Decrease Income Tax Rate from 4.63% to 4.55%
Proposition 116, if enacted, would reduce the flat Colorado income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.55% starting in the 2020 tax year.
While a rate reduction might seem attractive to Colorado taxpayers, it would primarily benefit the wealthiest individuals. The average taxpayer would owe $37 less in state income tax each year, while an individual with $1,000,000 in taxable income would receive an $800 reduction.
If the measure passes, the state’s budget will be reduced by $203 million for the 2020-21 cycle and $154 million for 2021-22. This will negatively impact funding for schools, housing, and other vital state-supported programs, which have already been impacted by revenue shrinkage due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more info: Vote NO on 116 - Fair Tax Colorado
Prop 117 - NO
Require Voter Approval of Certain New Enterprises Exempt from TABOR
Proposition 117 would require any new government-owned state enterprise (e.g., like the Colorado Lottery and Colorado Parks and Wildlife) to be approved by statewide voter approval if its revenue is expected to exceed $100 million during its first five years of operation. Currently any new enterprises can be created by the Colorado legislature without requiring a ballot initiative.
When the TABOR law was established, such enterprises were exempted from such a requirement, because they are funded almost entirely by fees (not taxes) and were largely self-supporting. Those enterprises were also not included in the TABOR-mandated formula on annual state spending limits.
State enterprises are operating as they were intended, including being subject to periodic oversight and review of their operations. Imposing a requirement that voters need to approve any new endeavor has the potential for discouraging their creation.
For more info: Vote NO on 116 & 117
Prop 118 - YES
Paid Family and Medical Leave Program for Colorado
Proposition 118 would create a state-run fund that would provide up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave for the four of five working Coloradans who now lack it. Approval of Proposition 118 would mean that those working in businesses with 10 or more employees would not have to choose between paying their bills and caring for an ill family member (or themselves) or caring for / bonding with a newborn baby.
Proposition 118 will require employers to pay a small premium (0.45% of an employee’s salary); employees would contribute the same amount, on average $3.83 per week, to the fund. An employee taking leave would receive up to 90 percent of his or her wages, to a maximum of $1,100 per week.
The effect that the COVID-19 pandemic crisis has had on so many families in Colorado makes it abundantly clear that our workers desperately need this program for their and our collective well being. Proposition 118 is good for families, good for businesses, and good for Colorado.
For more info: Vote YES on 118
Ballot Issue 7A - YES
Colorado River Water Conservation District
Ballot Measure 7A is critical to the future of water in the Western Slope. The measure will provide close to $5 million annually to be leveraged with state and federal dollars for projects in the Western Slope to protect clean drinking water supplies, healthy habitats for fish and wildlife, recreation opportunities, and water for farmers and ranchers.
Ballot Measure 7A will ask Western Colorado voters to approve a modest mill levy increase (1/4 of a single mill) to support the Colorado River District’s ongoing efforts to protect Western Slope rivers and the water we all depend upon.
This nominal increase equates to an additional $1.90 a year for every $100,000 in residential home value.
For more info: Vote YES on 7A
For information on other ballot questions: Ballotpedia - Colorado Ballot Measures
Ballotpedia is a nonpartisan online encyclopedia. It includes explanations of Ballot Measures, pro/con arguments for each measure, and which groups and individuals are behind the campaigns surrounding each measure.