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November 21, 2018

Voters Confronted with Formidable List State Ballot Issues


Preferred bedside reading in Lake City and throughout the state in recent days is Legislative Council of the Colorado General Assembly’s “Blue Book,” the usually miniscule but reliably informative rundown providing pros and cons on each of the state’s ballot initiatives.
This year’s Blue Book, sent out in advance of the Tuesday, November 6, General Election, makes for gargantuan reading with a whopping 112 pages covering 13 amendments and propositions which are proposed to the Colorado State Constitution.
Proposed changes to the state constitution range from the relatively straight-foward Amendment V lowering the age for members of the State Legislature from 25 to 21, and Amendment A, altering wording in the constitution to prohibit both slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment, to more complex issues altering the description of Industrial Hemp from a Constitutional to Statutory wording (Amendment X), and two countering amendments, Y and Z, reflecting on the manner in which congressional boundaries in the state are drawn.
Amendment Y envisions an expanded 12-member Independent Commission in charge of redrawing congressional boundaries, one-third of the commission composed of members non-affiliated with any political party, one-third from the state’s largest political party and remaining one-third from second largest political party. Proposed Amendment Z would retain but expand the present Reapportionment Commission, requiring that one-third of the 12-member commission be non-affiliated with a political party.
Amendment W would simplify and reconfigure the ballot listings for Judicial Retention and Proposition 74 would require just compensation to landowners whose property values decline as the result of government laws or regulations.
Proposition 75 addresses campaign contributions

in which one candidate directs $1-million or more in support, allowing other candidates in that race to then increase by up to five times the amount of contributions which they are allowed to receive. Proposition 111 caps the maximum allowable percent rate at no greater than 36 percent for payday loans.
Several of the ballot issues have particular interest in Hinsdale County, one of which, Proposition 110, has been formally endorsed by Hinsdale County Commissioners (see letters, this week’s edition).
Proposition 110 aids state and local transportation projects to the tune of an estimated $766,700 annually through a proposed 0.62 percent state sales and use tax increase. The sales tax increase would sunset after 12 years and be apportioned on an annual basis 45 percent to state transportation projects, 40 percent to municipal and county projects, and 15 percent for multimodal transportation projects.
Benefits of the sales sax increase on the local level benefit both Hinsdale County and Town of Lake City. Hinsdale County currently receives $744,395 on an annual basis from the Highway Users Trust Fund (HUTF) and, during the first year of the proposed 0.62 percent sales tax increase, is estimated to receive an added $465,125; Town of Lake City currently receives $32,554 in HUTF funding and, with passage of Proposition 110, would receive an added $40,461 during the first year in which the tax is added.
Amendment 109 also addresses transportation projects state-wide in Colorado, allowing the state’s debt to increase by $3,500,000 — and maximum repayment of up to $5,200,000 — through the issuance of Transportation Revenue Anticipation Notes for the exclusive use of specified road and bridge expansion, construction, maintenance and repair projects.
Amendment 73 asks voters to approve an increase in the state’s income tax for individuals, trusts and estates with annual income in excess of $150,000, together with an increase in corporate income tax rates, the annual revenue from which is estimated at $1,600,000 and designated for preschool through high school public education; the amendment also includes a reduction in current residential and non-residential property assessment rates in terms of school district taxes.
Hinsdale School Board passed a resolution in July in support of Initiative 93, which has now been retitled Amendment 73. According to school board president Phillip Virden, Colorado ranks in the bottom ten in the U.S. for funding education. “Amendment 73 is a well thought out measure which will address this insufficiency,” he says.
If Amendment 73 is successfully passed, Hinsdale School Superintendent Rebecca Hall states funds which are locally received would be earmarked to expand and create new learning opportunities for students; adjust salary schedules to provide regionally competitive salaries to staff; create a strategic plan for updating and required maintenance of school facilities and grounds; and improve school safety and security measures.
Specific wording for state-wide ballot measures, Amendments V, W, X, Y, Z and A, and Propositions 109, 110, 111, and 112, was published in last week’s October 19 edition of the SILVER WORLD.

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