2020 Ballot Measures

Support Jeffco Kids 2020 Ballot Measure Positions

 

Prop 116 – State Income Tax Rate Reduction (Lowering of Flat Tax Rate) (formerly Initiative #306)   

POSITION:   STRONGLY OPPOSE

Rationale:  

Income taxes are 61% of the General Fund, any time the state isn’t collecting as much of them it means there will be less to invest in education, health care, transportation, and other priorities.

The tax cut provided in Proposition 116 does nothing to help the one in five Coloradans worried about losing their homes or being unable to feed their families over the next year . Per the Legislative Fiscal Analysis, if this measure passes, households making

  • $50,000 a year would pay $40 less in income taxes annually (that equates to 77 cents a week).  77cents a week won’t even cover a purchase at the Dollar Store,

Sponsors of this ballot measure: a coalition that partnered with Jon Caldara and the Independence Institute, and Michael Fields of Colorado Rising Action, Unite for Colorado (Dustin Zvonek CEO of Unite for Colorado & an AFP alumnus), and Americans for Prosperity (aka Koch Brothers).

Ballot Language:  Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes reducing the state income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.55%?

Impact Statement:

https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/initiatives/2020%2523306FI.00.pdf

“If passed, the measure reduces the income tax rate for tax year 2020 and would be expected to reduce revenue for FY2020.  The measure reduces General Fund revenue by an estimated:

  • $78.1 million in the current FY 2019-20
  • $158.4 million in FY 2020-21
  • $169.8 million in FY 2021-22”

 

Prop 117 – Voter Approval Requirement for creation of Certain Fee-Based Enterprises (formerly Initiative #295)

POSITION: OPPOSE

Rationale:

This measure ties the hands of legislators (as well as local governments – including public colleges and universities) to fund programs, without seeking a ballot measure to the state’s voters.   Enterprise Funds have been used to help finance the state’s  higher education through:  College Invest, College Assist, Higher Ed Enterprises.  A primary reason for the growth in the State’s Enterprise Fund is due to the growth in the cost of college tuition. As pointed out by the Legislative Council,  “…it will decrease state government services, potentially shifting a portion of economic activity from the public sector to the private sector.”

Ballot Language: Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes requiring statewide voter approval at the next even-year election of any newly created or qualified state enterprise that is exempt from the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution, if the projected or actual combined revenue from fees and surcharges of the enterprise, and all other enterprises created within the last five years that serve primarily the same purpose, is greater than $100 million within the first five fiscal years of the creation of qualification of the new enterprise?

Impact Statement: https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Initiatives/titleBoard/filings/2019-2020/295FiscalImpact.pdf

  • Definition of an enterprise:  A government-owned business authorized to issue its own revenue bonds and which receives less than 10 percent of its revenue in grants from the state government and local government sources, combined.  Examples of enterprises owned by the state government include public colleges and universities, the Colorado Lottery, and the Division of Parks and Wildlife.
  • Economic Impact:  The measure has no direct economic impact. To the extent that it causes policymakers to create fewer state enterprises, it will decrease state government services, potentially shifting a portion of economic activity from the public sector to the private sector.

Prop EE – Increase Taxes on Nicotine Products  https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb20-1427

POSITION: SUPPORT WITH RESERVATIONS 

Rationale:

This measure provides revenue for the Colorado Preschool Program, 3 years of additional funding for Colorado’s rural schools, and in its first 3 fiscal years deposits revenue to the State Education Fund.  Additionally, by imposing a tax on e-cigarettes and vaping products, serves to discourage our youth from imbibing in either of these products.

While Prop EE would provide much needed funding for our public schools, it comes nowhere close to filling in the huge gap that already exists in funding our schools statewide – currently our schools are being shorted well over $1 Billion.  This measure should not be seen as a panacea or solution to our devastatingly underfunded public education system in this state.  Our reservation in supporting this measure is the concern that voters will incorrectly assume this addresses the severe underfunding of public schools in this state – not unlike the huge misconception about the marijuana sales tax that still exists today. The additional revenue is much needed, but neither the marijuana sales tax nor would this nicotine tax do an adequate job in filling the huge funding gap that currently exists.  

Ballot Language: SHALL STATE TAXES BE INCREASED BY $294,000,000 ANNUALLY BY IMPOSING A TAX ON NICOTINE LIQUIDS USED IN E-CIGARETTES AND OTHER VAPING PRODUCTS THAT IS EQUAL TO THE TOTAL STATE TAX ON TOBACCO PRODUCTS WHEN FULLY PHASED IN, INCREMENTALLY INCREASING THE TOBACCO PRODUCTS TAX BY UP TO 22% OF THE MANUFACTURER’S LIST PRICE, INCREMENTALLY INCREASING THE CIGARETTE TAX BY UP TO 9 CENTS PER CIGARETTE, EXPANDING THE EXISTING CIGARETTE AND TOBACCO TAXES TO APPLY TO SALES TO CONSUMERS FROM OUTSIDE OF THE STATE, ESTABLISHING A MINIMUM TAX FOR MOIST SNUFF TOBACCO PRODUCTS, CREATING AN INVENTORY TAX THAT APPLIES FOR FUTURE CIGARETTE TAX INCREASES, AND INITIALLY USING THE TAX REVENUE PRIMARILY FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDING TO HELP OFFSET REVENUE THAT HAS BEEN LOST AS A RESULT OF THE ECONOMIC IMPACTS RELATED TO COVID-19 AND THEN FOR PROGRAMS THAT REDUCE THE USE OF TOBACCO AND NICOTINE PRODUCTS, ENHANCE THE VOLUNTARY COLORADO PRESCHOOL PROGRAM AND MAKE IT WIDELY AVAILABLE FOR FREE, AND MAINTAIN THE FUNDING FOR PROGRAMS THAT CURRENTLY RECEIVE REVENUE FROM TOBACCO TAXES, WITH THE STATE KEEPING AND SPENDING ALL OF THE NEW TAX REVENUE AS A VOTER-APPROVED REVENUE CHANGE?

Fiscal Impact Statement: https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2020A/bills/fn/2020a_hb1427_r1.pdf

Programmatic Expenditures:

  • Rural Schools:  Dollars for Rural Schools
    • $25M (20/21)
    • $30M (21/22)
    • $35M (22/23)
  • Preschool Program:  Revenue in preschool program fund must be spent to provide at least 10 hours a week of free preschool to children year before they start kindergarten.
  • State Education Fund: Any remaining revenue in the first 3 fiscal years deposited to the State Ed Fund.  Can be spent for state share of total program funding or for other programs related to education, as determined by the General Assembly.
  • These amounts are estimated to be:
    • $49.2 million FY20/21
    • $121.2 million FY21/22
    • $115.1 million FY22/23

Amendment B – Real Property Tax Assessment Rates (Partial Gallagher Repeal) – Senate Concurrent Resolution SCR20-001 (Constitutional Change)**http://leg.colorado.gov/bills/scr20-001

POSITION: STRONGLY SUPPORT

Rationale:

This measure preserves local funding for our public schools and other local districts.  School districts rely on local funding first before receiving the state’s share. What is not covered by the local level is backfilled by the state.  The state’s funding already is not adequately fulfilling that need.  Further reduction at the local level would be devastating to our schools.

If the Gallagher Repeal is not successful, both Jeffco Public Schools and Jefferson County will see a significant negative impact.

Jeffco schools currently estimates a loss of $31.0M

Jefferson County will see a $29M decrease in revenue.

Here’s how your property taxes are distributed in Jeffco: https://www.jeffco.us/3851/Property-Taxes-101

  • 48% fund local school districts
  • 25%  funding for the County
  • 25% funds special districts such as fire or water
  • 5% funding for cities and urban renewal

Ballot Language: “Without increasing property tax rates, to help preserve funding for local districts that provide fire protection, police, ambulance, hospital, kindergarten through twelfth grade education and other services, and to avoid automatic mill levy increases, shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Constitution to repeal the requirement that the general assembly periodically change the residential assessment rate in order to maintain the statewide proportion of residential property as compared to all other taxable property valued for property tax purposes and repeal the nonresidential property tax assessment rate of twenty-nine percent?”

Fiscal Note:  http://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2020A/bills/fn/2020a_scr001_00.pdf

The legislature also passed a companion bill, Senate Bill 20-223 which would take effect if voters approve the constitutional amendment.  Senate Bill 223 would prohibit the legislature  from changing assessment rates for property, thereby freezing the current rates of 7.15% for residential property and 29% for non-residential property in state statute.  SB223 would allow the legislature to adjust the assessment rate in state statute.  Under the Gallagher Amendment, property tax assessment rates were expected to continue to decrease.  Therefore, repealing the Gallagher Amendment and freezing property tax rates at current levels was expected to result in higher residential assessment rates than under the Gallagher Amendment.

https://ballotpedia.org/Colorado_Gallagher_Amendment_Repeal_and_Property_Tax_Assessment_Rates_Measure_(2020)

SB20-223:  http://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2020A/bills/fn/2020a_sb223_f1.pdf

Additional background info: State Property Tax Administrator JoAnn Groff presented to the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) as a brief addendum to the May revenue forecast.  Groff calculated that the expected drop in the Residential Assessment Rate (RAR) will mean a $246 million drop in district Total Program Funding revenues – which the state will have to backfill in 2021-22 – a $490 million drop in all district revenues,…and a $203 million drop in revenues for counties.

“The impact to school districts,” is that the residential assessment rate likely will have to drop next year from 7.15% to 5.88% (meaning a drop in local school district funding).  When the state does not have the revenue to backfill K-12, the Budget Stabilization Factor increases (the B.S. Factor already exceeds $1.1 Billion).