There are only three issues on the State of Colorado and Larimer County mail in ballot. (Individual districts have more.) Be sure to look beyond the ads, and who is spending the most money before you vote. Each of the three issues are addressed below, with pros and cons on each measure.
State of Colorado:
Amendment 66 (Constitutional)
At stake: Tax increase of $950,100,000 ($950 million) annually in the first fiscal year, and raised through amendments to the Colorado constitution thereafter. This amendment would amend the Colorado constitution.
Summary: This tax increase of nearly $1 billion would provide funding for preschool through 132th grade public education. It would increase the current state income tax rate on individuals, estates and trusts. This amendment would impose a higher rate for higher income earners.
Where it would be spent: At least 43% of the revenues would be deposited into the state education fund.
Opinion: Vote no. “It’s for the children” is always used when taxes are being raised for schools, but when the entire amount is not going into the “education” fund, is it really going to significantly help our educational system in Colorado? There is no guarantee the money would ever make it into the classrooms (Denverpost.com). With only a minimum of 43% going to the state education fund, where does the remaining 57% of this increase go? In fact, this amendment takes control away from local schools and changes it to union control. Any amendment to the constitution should be well thought out before voting for it.
Yes: Proponents say this amendment will help fund some of the merit-based tenure reforms (passed in 2010), but there is also a law suit those same proponents are planning to file to get ride of the merit-based program. On ColoradoCommits.com, a yes vote could: hire thousands of new teachers to reduce class sizes, teachers could provide one-on-one time with students, and “taxpayers will have confidence that new money is used only for education reforms or enhancements to existing programs.”
No: Those opposed to Amendment 66 say there is no cap to this tax increase. Income taxes will increate from 8 – 27% (the largest increase ever in Colorado). There is no accountability to this Amendment, and no guarantee the money would go to the kids, or into the classroom. The taxes collected would also not necessarily stay in your school district, but would be used where state (not local) legislatures determine it is needed.
Proposition AA (Statutory)
At stake: $70,000,000 state tax annually on the sale of marijuana to be offset after the first year by an excise tax of unprocessed retail marijuana.
Summary: The first $40,000,000 ($40 million) would be used for public school capital construction.
Opinion: Vote no. This bill was structured so it would look like the sale of marijuana would fund our schools and garner the sympathy vote (“it’s for the kids”). It appears the sale of marijuana is being targeted for an excessive tax. This proposition is on the ballot because it was not dealt with when marijuana became legal.
Yes: “Yes On Prop AA” claims Proposition AA will generate revenue to regulate the emerging retail marijuana industry with the following: regulation of the industry, building and renewing schools, finishing what was passed with Amendment 64 in 2012 (legalization of marijuana).
No: Opponents, such as NoOverTaxation.org, say the bill is a bait and switch. They also say the “sin tax” is set too high compared to other items, such as alcohol. This excessive tax could drive marijuana back into the underground, unregulated black market. The tax is 10% and could be increased up to 15%. In the Denver Post, Colorado NORML (advocates for Coloradans who responsibly consume marijuana) believe the tax is excessive and the current sales tax structure should cover the use of legal marijuana.
Ballot Issue 1A
At stake: no tax increase
Summary: Should the county be allowed to build a new building or remodel a building replacing the former Loveland Public Library building (6th and Cleveland Avenue), and now used for license plate office, health services, and more, in Loveland, CO?
Opinion: Vote yes. Taxes for the renovation have already been collected, but now the language needs to be changed so officials can use the money for a new building instead of renovation of an old building. Ideally, the language should have been written properly to begin with.
Yes: A Reporter Herald editorial claims “renovations of the existing building might not be the most cost-effective use of the money.” The editorial also says, “voters should give Larimer County officials the latitude to improve the county’s services in Loveland.”
No: There does not appear to be an opposing group to Ballot Issue 1A.
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