Our View: Statewide ballot initiatives require careful study
The November ballot includes 11 statewide ballot initiatives, three of which the Steamboat Pilot & Today editorial board has already weighed in on (Amendment B and propositions 113 and 114). Today, we will offer summary recommendations on the remaining eight.
(Publisher’s note: The Pilot & Today has traditionally opposed citizen-driven statewide ballot measures to amend the Constitution, guided by a belief constitutional amendments should be rare and pass the higher bar of receiving Legislative approval.)
Amendment C (constitutional amendment placed on ballot by Legislature): The Charitable Bingo and Raffles Amendment would allow charitable gaming licenses to be obtained after three years, not five years, and would allow charities to hire third parties to operate games.
Our View: We recommend a “yes” on Amendment C. We see little downside to this measure, which would benefit charities.
Amendment 76 (constitutional amendment placed on the ballot by citizen initiative): Would amend the state Constitution to “only a citizen” can vote.
Our view: This is a citizen initiative that would amend the state Constitution. As a result, we are more receptive to proposed amendments placed on the ballot by the Legislature, such as Amendment C). In the case of Amendment 76, we believe this is a solution to a problem that may not exist, and recommend a “no” vote.
At Issue: The November ballot includes 11 statewide ballot initiatives that require careful research.
Our View: Seven ‘no’s’ and one ‘yes’ on statewide initiatives.
Logan Molen, publisher
Lisa Schlichtman, editor
George Danellis, community representative
Kevin Fisher, community representative
Contact the Editorial Board at 970-871-4221 or lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com.
Amendment 77 (constitutional amendment placed on the ballot by citizen initiative): Lets voters in Black Hawk, Cripple Creek and Central City determine single-bet limits and the games that can be played at Colorado casinos. Any increases in casino tax revenue would fund community colleges.
Our view: While we generally favor local control, we don’t see an overriding reason to amend the Constitution through a citizen-driven initiative and recommend a “no” vote.
Proposition EE (placed on the ballot by the Legislature): Would set a tax on smoking and vaping products to fund education and health programs.
Our view: We recommend a “no” vote. We cannot endorse what would be a sizable, and inequitable, tax that picks winners and choosers when it comes to nicotine delivery. This legislation was passed without public comment with big-tobacco influence that offers the prospects of large increase in short-term funding for a variety of education, health and housing programs, in addition to anti-tobacco/vaping education. While we’re supportive of increased funding in those areas, there are no guarantees the funding would exist long term. We know teen use of tobacco and vaping deserves closer attention, but believe there are better approaches to address that challenge in ways that offer sustainable long-term funding.
Proposition 115 (placed on the ballot by citizen initiative): Would prohibit abortions after 22 weeks.
Our view: We recommend a “no” vote. We believe abortion is a women’s right to choose, in consultation with her doctor and in accordance with her beliefs.
Proposition 116 (placed on the ballot by citizen initiative): Would reduce the state income tax rate from 4.63 percent to 4.55 percent.
Our view: We recommend a “no” vote. We don’t believe a pandemic is the right time for what is an immaterial tax cut — $40 a year for someone making $50,000 per year — and believe that a thoughtful, comprehensive reform package that offers reasonable taxpayer benefits without gutting government revenue is the better path.
Proposition 117 (placed on the ballot by citizen initiative): Would add a new TABOR-like provision to state law, requiring the state government to get voter permission before it creates major new government-owned “enterprises” that are partially funded by fees.
Our view: We recommend a “no” vote. We see this measure as a major increase of voter control over Colorado fiscal policy. In turn, we believe this initiative would unduly restrict the Legislature’s ability to effectively operate government.
Proposition 118 (placed on the ballot by citizen initiative): Would change state statutes to create a paid family and medical leave program.
Our view: We recommend a “no” vote. While we support the concept of expanding family and medical leave, we believe this initiative has too many loopholes. The measure stipulates employees and employers would share in the costs of the program, but local governments can opt out and many small businesses would be exempt. And while the employee and employer shares of the program may seem small, those payments would be especially painful for low-wage earners and companies that would pass the costs along to consumers. We would prefer an initiative of such scope and far-reaching implications be driven federally instead of through a state-level, citizen-driven initiative.
Publisher’s note: Editorial board member Lisa Schlichtman did not participate in this discussion.
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