Your ballot should be arriving a few days after you read this. Please take the time to thoughtfully complete it and either mail it back or drop it at the Fairplay County Building or the Bailey County Building or Fire Station #2. Every vote is important and you shouldn’t assume the outcome of any question is already decided without your vote.
Here are a few things to consider. There is a question about the National Popular Vote initiative (113) that has a lot of people confused. Basically, this has already passed the state legislature and been signed into law. A “Yes” vote will retain this law. A “No” vote will repeal the law. There are a lot of statistics being thrown around on both sides of this argument, but it boils down to a simple issue. If the law is allowed to stand, then even if 75% of Colorado voters vote for Candidate A, but nationally 51% of voters vote for Candidate B, then all of Colorado’s electoral votes will be assigned to Candidate B, negating the voices of our voters but honoring the voices of the national voters. If the law is repealed, then all of Colorado’s electoral votes will go to the candidate winning the majority in just Colorado. Most of the money to support passing this initiative has come from California, and many think this will give more weight to the populated areas like California, New York, Chicago, etc. You need to decide if that is fair (vote Yes), or if the rural areas of the country should still get a strong voice (vote No).
Amendment B would repeal the Gallagher Amendment if passed. Basically, Gallagher sets a statewide ratio of net income between residential and commercial property taxes. When residential property values rise faster than commercial property values, the tax rate for residential property goes down to keep the income ratio intact. The basic issue here is the difference between metro areas, which have a large number of commercial properties, and rural areas, which have very little commercial property. Since the residential assessment rate gets lowered statewide, the rural areas lose more income since there is no corresponding increase in commercial tax revenue. Voting “Yes” will repeal Gallagher, which was well-intentioned but has had unforeseen consequences.
Amendment 76 will change the state constitution to prohibit the state legislature from extending the right to vote to noncitizens in the future. Although there is currently no move to do this in Colorado, we are seeing efforts in other states like California to extend benefits and eligibility to both legal and illegal immigrants who have not applied for citizenship. Voting “Yes” will prohibit the Colorado legislature from moving down this path in the coming years.
Proposition 115 would prohibit abortions after 22 weeks unless the life of the mother is in danger.
Proposition 117 would require the state legislature to get voter approval to institute new fees on services it provides. This is very similar to the TABOR amendment which citizens passed to prevent the government from raising taxes without a vote. These fees now account for about 20% of state revenue. Voting “Yes” will limit the growth of government to those areas approved by the citizens at large.
Proposition 118 is for paid family leave. We are already covered by federal law in this area as well as a new law that took effect this year requiring employers to give employees a minimum of one hour of paid sick leave accrual for every 30 hours worked. This proposition would basically institute a 1% increase in income tax, although they don’t call it that, to fund additional benefits. It’s worth noting that less than 20% of workers nationally are eligible for these expanded benefits today.
There are, of course, the politicians you will have to pick from. As I’ve noted, President Trump in his first three years had the fastest-growing economy in our nation’s history. Obama/Biden oversaw the slowest economic recovery since 1929. Biden wants to return to a policy of increasing taxes on businesses and the wealthy. This policy has never created jobs as these are the very elements of society that are investing to grow business. I have yet to see one significant thing Biden has accomplished in his 47 years in federal office. Trump is also a proponent of school choice and charter schools, while Biden would take these privileges away from the families in the lower economic classes.
You also have the race between Gardner and Hickenlooper. Much is being made about Gardner voting nine times against retaining protection for pre-existing conditions. What those advertisements don’t tell you is that one point in an otherwise terrible bill may have been for these conditions, while the rest of the bill needed to be voted down. This is the case with bills like Medicare-for-all. You need to look at the entire document, not just one sentence.
Do your homework as this is probably one of the most important elections in our lifetimes. The country is at a crossroads, both economically and socially. Remember, Republicans stand for smaller government, lower taxes (more money in your pocket), and greater autonomy for the citizen to decide.