Proposition 117 – Oppose

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.