During this important election time it is critical that you know the facts about the proposed ballot initiatives. Your chamber has taken positions on a number of the critical statewide ballot measures. The information below is designed to assist you in your decision making process.
The chamber OPPOSES Proposition 112, which requires that new oil and natural gas development be located at least 2,500 feet from occupied structures, and areas designated as vulnerable.
Analysis by state regulators has determined that this would eliminate 94 per cent of non-federal land available for drilling in Colorado's top five oil-and-gas-producing counties. The impact of such an elimination is vast both to the economy and the state education fund. According to the Colorado Alliance of Mineral Rights Owners (CAMRO), this would result in the loss of 140,000 jobs and the elimination of $217 billion in economic activity over the next 15 years. Additionally, because school funding in Colorado relies heavily on property taxes paid by oil and gas companies, the state's investment in education would suffer.
The chamber SUPPORTS Amendments Y & Z that focus on legislative and congressional redistricting.
Amendment Z replaces the Colorado Reapportionment Commission with the Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission, which consists of an equal number of members from each of the state's two largest political parties and unaffiliated voters. The purpose is to amend and approve state legislative district maps drawn by nonpartisan legislative staff.
Amendment Y creates the Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission that amends and approves congressional district maps drawn by nonpartisan legislative staff. Both amendments have received bipartisan support.
The chamber OPPOSES Amendment 73, which will pull in $1.6 billion additional dollars for education by next school year through freezing property tax rates for all homeowners (which were set to decrease) and increasing taxes on corporations and higher income earners.
According to the state's non-partisan Legislative Council, those with $150,000 in taxable income will pay about $80 more a year. Higher income earners will pay more the more they earn. Those who make $500,000 will see their taxes increase by more than $42,000 a year.
Your chamber strongly supports a well-funded and effective PreK-12 system, however, this proposal raises multiple concerns for our members as it places the burden of funding education on the backs of our smallest businesses, threatening their ability to succeed.
Amendment 74 requires property owners to be compensated for any reduction in fair market value caused by the application of any government law or regulation. The chamber is NEUTRAL on this amendment.
The chamber SUPPORTS Proposition 110. Let's Go Colorado would fund transportation improvements in our state through a .62 percent sales tax increase. This six cent increase on $10 would raise $767 million a year for transportation and unlock $6 billion of bonding capacity to be used for statewide projects determined by municipalities and regional projects such as senior bus services.
The chamber is NEUTRAL on Proposition 109. "Fix Our Damn Roads" is aimed at transportation funding by forcing the state legislature to put $3.5 billion into transportation improvements, including widening Interstates 25 and 70.
The state General Assembly prioritized transportation funding over the last legislative session by dedicating $645 million to transportation over the next two years. If neither Proposition 109 or 110 passes this year, the voters will be asked through referred measure in 2019 for permission to borrow $2.3 billion, repaid with $122.6 million a year over the next 20 years.
In any scenario, all attempts may fall short of what is really needed to fully fund the state's infrastructure needs. The Colorado Department of Transportation says that it has $9 billion in infrastructure needs over the next decade and $20 billion over the next 20 years.