2018 Ballot Issues
What You Will See On the Denver Ballot
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2018 ISSUES ON THE DENVER BALLOT
Tax Increases and Issues of Particular Note are Noted in Red
DWRC Board Recommendations Noted in Green
2018 STATEWIDE BALLOT AMENDMENTS AND PROPOSITIONS
The following Amendments were referred to the ballot by the State Legislature:
AMENDMENT A: A measure to remove language from the state constitution that still makes it technically legal for slavery and involuntary servitude to be used as punishment for crimes. This measure was previously defeated due to poor language that led to confusion about whether it would outlaw work programs in prisons. The wording has been improved.
AMENDMENT V: Lowers the minimum age to serve as a Colorado State Senator or Representative from 26 to 21.
AMENDMENT W: Changes the ballot format for judge & justice retention to a list format to ease readability and save space.
AMENDMENT X: Changes the definition of industrial hemp from a Constitutional definition to a Statutory definition which could allow growth in this industry, Hemp is currently defined as having a level of less than .3% THC and would allow the state to adopt federal definitions.
AMENDMENT Y: Changes the duty of drawing congressional districts from the state legislature to a non-elected, appointed commission. DWRC VOTES YES
AMENDMENT Z: Changes the way state senate and state house of representative districts are drawn and replacing the existing legislative reapportionment commission with a non-elected, appointed commission. DWRC VOTES YES
Amendments Y and Z are supported by a very wide spectrum of people and organizations – from the Independence Institute to the ACLU and the Chairs of both the Republican and Democrat parties. Go to FairMapsColorado.com for a full explanation of proposed changes.
The following Amendments and Proposed Law Changes were initiated by petitions:
AMENDMENT 73: INCOME TAX INCREASE AND PROPERTY TAX CHANGES - This constitutional amendment raises taxes by $1.6B for school funding by initiating a graduated income tax and substantially increasing state income taxes on corporations, businesses and individuals earning over $150,000. The new funds would fund all-day kindergarten, pre-school for special needs children and other unspecified uses to be determined by individual school boards. Tax rates for individuals earning more than $150,000 would increase from 4.65% to between 5% and 8.25%. The average corporate tax bill would increase $11,085. Many homeowners would experience an increase in property taxes, averaging $28 per $100,000 of market value while commercial entities may have a decrease in property taxes. (Residential assessment rates will be set at 7% which is higher than the expected rate for 2019. Commercial assessment rates will decrease from 29% to 24%.) DWRC VOTES NO
AMENDMENT 74: Changes the state constitution requiring compensation for a reduction in fair market value by government law or regulation. Backed by the Colorado Farm Bureau and Oil and Gas Industry. Opposed by local governments that fear lawsuits.
AMENDMENT 75: Changes the State Constitution to allow increased campaign finance limits when one candidate donates over $1M to a campaign. Called as a move to “Stop Millionaires from Buying Elections” by the two Republican Lawmakers that sponsored the Initiative (Brophy and Nichols). This initiative would allow candidates in primary or general elections running for state office to accept five times the normal campaign contribution amount if their competing candidate (or his/her PAC) spends more than $1 million of his/her money to support their campaign. For example, the maximum contribution that can be given to a Governor candidate is now $1150. It would take 870 donors giving the full contribution to equal one $1,000,000 donation given by a candidate to his/her own campaign. (Polis has given $20 million so far this campaign.) In this case, competing candidates could accept up to $5750 from each contributor. This is an attempt to somewhat level the playing field. DWRC VOTES YES
PROPOSITION 109: Fix Our Damn Roads. This is a measure to change state statutes to implement 66 specified transportation improvements – roads and bridges infrastructure only – by bonding (borrowing) up to $3.5 B with loans to be paid back by the General Fund. (In other words, it requires the State Legislature to prioritize transportation). This measure does not allow the money to be used for administration, indirect costs or other types of transit. This measure is sponsored by Jon Caldera and the Independence Institute. DWRC VOTES YES
PROPOSITION 110: Sales Tax Increase - Let’s Go (Tax) Colorado. This is a measure to change state statutes to add .62% to the state sales tax, increasing it from 2.9% to 3.52% to pay for transportation improvements. This money would be divided between CDOT, local and county governments and “multi-model” transportation (that is, not roads and bridges). Specific projects are not named. This is estimated to cost the “average” household $130.63 per year for 20 years. DWRC VOTES NO
PROPOSITION 111: Changing the terms of Pay Day Loans. This measure changes state statute addresses concerns about “predatory payday loans” by to capping pay day loans at 36% yearly interest. Some lenders currently charge up to 200% interest.
PROPOSITION 112: Potential Significant Negative Economic Impact - Setbacks of Oil & Gas Development. This measure changes state statutes to require the increase of the distance of new oil and gas drills to 2,500 feet away from occupied structures including public spaces, a sharp increase from the 500-foot minimum currently in effect. One study released in July suggested if passed, 85 percent of Colorado’s non-federal land would be off-limits for oil and gas development. This measure would drastically impact oil and gas employment in this state as well as the tax revenue to schools, local and state governments this industry provides. Opposed by everyone but the most strident environmentalists! DWRC VOTES NO
CITY AND COUNTY PROPOSITIONS
Referred measures have been put on the ballot by City Council. Initiated Measures have been put on the ballot by citizen groups via petition.
Referred Measure 2A: SALES TAX INCREASE Adds .25% to the sales tax to benefit park construction and maintenance. This will result in $46 M in new taxes per year. DWRC VOTES NO
Referred Measure 2B: Changes the rules for signatures for ballot initiatives. The requirement number will be 2% of total active registered voters compared to the current 5% of the total vote in the last mayoral election.
Referred Measure 2C: Changes the City Charter to allow easier recruitment of police officers from other jurisdictions.
Referred Measure 2D: Changes the position of Director of Elections from appointed to regular city employee and to allow the Clerk and Recorder to appoint two additional positions of his/her choice.
Referred Measure 2E: PUBLIC FUNDING OF CAMPAIGNS: Lowers limits on individual contributions to local campaigns and initiates public funding for campaigns that agree to additional rules and limits. The city would put aside up to $8M in a fund that would match individual donations of $50 or less with 9X the donation from the city. For example, a $50 individual donation to a candidate would be matched with $450 from the city. Maximums would be $750K for Mayoral candidate, $250 for Council at large, Auditor, Clerk and Recorder and $125K for District City Council for candidates that participate. Corporate. LLC, Labor Organization and other organization donations are banned. Candidates not accepting city money would be allowed to collect higher amounts per individual contributor than those accepting public money but allowed amounts would decrease for all. In 2015, 47 of the 50 municipal candidates would have benefited from this program. See this site for more information: https://denverite.com/2018/08/14/denver-campaign-finance. DWRC VOTES NO
Initiated Ordinance 300: SALES TAX INCREASE - Adds .08% in sales tax to create post-secondary scholarships for Denver Residents under age 25. Expected to raise $13.9M per year in new taxes. DWRC VOTES NO
Initiated Ordinance 301: SALES TAX INCREASE Adds .25% to sales tax for suicide prevention and mental health, substance abuse services and affordable housing, raising an additional $45M per year. DWRC VOTES NO
Initiated Ordinance 302: SALES TAX INCREASE Adds .08% to sales tax to provide healthy food and food education for children under 18 by distributing funds to local organizations and sites, including schools. This tax is forecast to raise $11.2M in the first year. DWRC VOTES NO
WE CURRENTLY PAY 3.65% CITY SALES TAX. IF ALL THE ABOVE PROPOSALS WERE APPROVED, IT WOULD INCREASE CITY SALES TAX BY.66% to 4.31% -- AN 18% INCREASE IN CITY SALES TAX. THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE THE PROPOSED STATE SALES TAX INCREASE.
Ballot Issue 7G: PROPERTY TAX INCREASE - The Urban Drainage and Flood Control District, a multi-county district, essentially asks to bypass past TABOR restrictions and institute a phased property tax increase to assist cities and counties in flood control. Although total funding has increased due to population growth, the tax rate has dropped under TABOR’S restrictions on total budget growth. The District recently spent $1.4M of its $32M budget on advertising on public-outreach, including TV Advertising to raise its profile. This tax increase will raise an additional $14.9M in the first year, increasing to $24 M per year ($13 for a $400,000 home per year). This is a75% increase in total district funding for which there are not even plans in place. (www.denverpost.com/2018/09/13/denver-metro-flood-control-district-tax-hike) DWRC VOTES NO