2016 Initiatives

EAGLE COUNTY REPUBLICANS

POSITIONS ON BALLOT INITIATIVES

 

Amendment T – Involuntary Servitude Prohibition

Because of the ambiguous wording of this amendment, we are recommending VOTE NO until the language is more specific.

While the word slavery brings up an unacceptable practice, its combination with involuntary servitude could cause a problem with interpretation.

Many detention facilities require some sort of physical labor as part of the program of incarceration. To eliminate that as part of the rehabilitation process could result in unintended consequences for law enforcement.

We would prefer to see the language clarified and therefore recommend VOTE NO on Amendment T until such time as it is.

 

Amendment U – Exemption from Property Taxes

When an individual or business uses government-owned land or equipment for private benefit they pay a possessory interest property tax.  In many cases the administrative cost of mailing notices and collecting and enforcing the tax often exceeds the amount collected.  Many of the possessory interests are charged less than $10 in property taxes.

Beginning with tax year 2018, Amendment U exempts a possessory interest from property taxation if the market value is $6,000 or less.  Beginning with tax year 2019, and every two years thereafter, the $6,000 exemption would be adjusted to account for inflation.

VOTE YES on Amendment U to reduce the costs of an administrative burden that often exceeds the tax. 

 

Amendment 69 - ColoradoCare

Amendment 69 will create a universal, single payer Health Care System known as ColoradoCare for all Colorado residents.

Funding for ColoradoCare will increase state taxes $25 billion dollars annually, with a provision to increase taxes as needed to cover increasing costs, while exempting it from the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR).  Keep in mind that the entire state budget is currently $27 billion.

Who will pay and how much? 

Employee payroll tax will increase from 4.63% to 7.96% while employer's tax on payroll will increase form 0% to 6.67%.

Non-payroll income, such as business income, rental income, taxable pensions, taxable social security, taxable interest, dividends, taxable refunds and credits, capital gains, taxable IRA distributions and other taxable income will be taxed at 10%

What are the implications of Amendment 69 for Colorado Residents?

ColoradoCare will create a huge tax burden for all hardworking Coloradans, including retirees and small business including farms and ranches, forcing them to pay both the employer’s and employee’s share of the new taxes. It will also double the size of state government and give Colorado the highest income tax rate in the country.

There are too many unknowns regarding costs, coverage, access to care, accountability, regulation, and transparency.

This amendment is opposed by the State Senate, State House and Governor. The VOTE NO bi-partisan coalition is co-chaired by State Treasurer Walker Stapleton (R) and former Gov Bill Ritter (D).

VOTE NO on Amendment 69 is mandatory.

 

Amendment 70 – State Minimum Wage

Amendment 70 does not take into account the wide economic differences in our state.

If approved, Amendment 70 would especially adversely impact small businesses that make up a majority of the state’s employers.  Also businesses in our rural communities, where the economy is still struggling, would face increased costs further hampering recovery.

An increase in minimum wage may result in fewer entry level and minimum wage jobs as well as a reduction in workers’ hours and/or benefits. In order to pay for minimum wage increases, businesses could raise prices along with reducing employment hurting the most vulnerable members of our population.

VOTE NO on Amendment 70

 

Amendment 71 – Constitutional Amendment

By requiring that 2% of valid signatures come from each of Colorado’s 35 state senate districts, Amendment 71 ensures that only the very wealthy special interests will be able to get amendments on the ballot by making it cost-prohibitive.

It also requires that all senate districts support a measure in order for it to make it on a ballot. That means one district’s opposition could keep a measure off the ballot even if 34 districts are in favor.

Also, it would require a super-majority of 55%+1 to pass amendments, but would retain the 50%+1 requirement to repeal amendments.  It’s illogical to require different standards for the process.

While we are definitely in favor of making the process of amending the state constitution more difficult with greater representation, making the process only available to those with deep pockets is not the answer.

VOTE NO on Amendment 71.

 

Amendment 72 – Cigarette Tax

While we would all like to have a smoke free environment, it is not up to the Colorado State Legislature to tax the public in order to achieve that goal.

Amendment 72 is a $315.7 million tax increase. This measure creates a constitutional requirement that the new taxes be spent on specific programs each year. Only 20% of the revenues collected will be spent on Smoking Cessation & Prevention programs.

The balance of the revenues will be manage by the Department of Public Health and will go to fund a variety of government programs, “some of which have not even been created yet.”  (Source: Amendment 72 - Section 21 (10) (d) (I – II)] and “Vote No on 72.com”)

 Amendment 72 will receive taxpayer funding indefinitely unless the voters approve another constitutional amendment.  As tobacco use declines so will revenues yet Amendment 72 will have locked in state spending on unnecessary programs even if there are no funds to pay for them thus requiring infusion from the General Fund. 

VOTE NO on Amendment 72 because blank check spending is wrong for Colorado.

 

Amendment 106– Access to Medical Aid-in-Dying Medication

No consensus

 

Amendments 107 & 108 – Primary Elections

We recommend a NO VOTE because of the inclusion of unaffiliated voters in the primary process.

The privilege of voting in a primary election should be reserved to those who are active in their respective parties, are knowledgeable about the candidates and have made a commitment to move the values of their parties forward.

The risk inherent in having open primaries is that it increases the possibility of manipulation of the process by those who have not exhibited allegiance to the party in question.

Additionally, the process to be used if this passes is unacceptable. Every registered voter will be mailed 2 primary ballots and will decide which one to return which raises the question of voter fraud.

VOTE NO on Amendments 107 & 108 until such time as this concept is corrected.

 

1A - Workforce Housing

While we support some form of government support for work force housing, this program is not the answer.

It is hard to imagine any expectation of passage of such an unspecific request. If this weren’t typical of politicians in general, it would be laughable. Instead it’s an insult to suggest that voters can be so easily manipulated.

We absolutely support a VOTE NO on 1A. We cannot solve one problem by causing an even bigger, irreversible one.

 

1B - Open Space

The open space tax was approved for the acquisition of open space- period. If there is a need for dollars to complete the trails program, there should be a proposal specifically for that purpose. To extend the open space tax for another 15 years is another case of the bureaucracy using convoluted tactics to increase revenues.

Additionally, this request if passed will increase our debt by $19.95 million with a re-payment cost of $32.7 million

The original tax was passed by a very narrow margin (51-49%). To further expand its uses violates transparency mandates and undermines public trust.

Trails are trails and open space is open space. There is no logic to suggest they should be co-mingled.

VOTE NO on 1B

 

3A - $8 Million School Tax Increase for Operating Expenses

The main problem with this amendment is the lack of details on spending.  All of the purposes listed are vague, leaving room for huge interpretation about how funds will be spent.

Additionally, some proposed changes are unnecessary.

Class size in Eagle County is already lower and the performance rate higher than the state average.

Eagle County teachers are in the top 12% of the highest paid teachers in the state.

Turnover rate for teachers in Eagle County is 12.28% while the state rate is 17.02%.

VOTE NO on 3A until a specific budget is provided to justify this tax.

 

3B - $144 million Bonding Capacity Increase

We are being asked to approve a bonding capacity of $144 million with repayment cost of $233 million.

Again, the lack of specificity for such a huge financial obligation requires a VOTE NO.

If passed, this will be the largest tax increase in the history of Eagle County. 

As a general philosophy, unless an issue involving new debt is very specific in defining its uses, we will always suggest a VOTE NO.

But probably the most offensive part of this request is that the voters were not given straight forward answers regarding yearly collections ($6million), the length of the loan (still unanswered) and the repayment amount of $233million (which was never made public until the sample ballot was published).

VOTE NO on 3B is the only choice on this one.

 

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