Colorado Voters have 11 Ballot Measures to consider this November
Issues on the November 2020 Ballot
Prop 113 – Adopt Agreement to Elect U.S. Presidents by National Popular Vote
Prop 114 – Restoration of Grey Wolves
Prop 115 – Prohibition on Late-Term Abortions
Prop 116 – State Income Tax Rate Reduction (Lowering of Flat Tax Rate)
Prop 117 – Voter Approval Requirement for creation of Certain Fee-Based Enterprises
Prop 118 – Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance
Prop EE – Increase Taxes on Nicotine Products
Amendment 76 – Citizenship Qualification of Electors (Constitutional change)**
Amendment 77 – Local Voter approval of Gaming Limits (Blackhawk, Central City, Cripple Creek) (Constitutional Change) **
Amendment B – Repeal Property Tax Assessment Rates (Gallagher) (Constitutional Change)**
Amendment C – Bingo Raffles Allow Paid Help and Repeal Five-Year Minimum (Constitutional change)**
** Constitutional amendments require the approval of at least 55 percent of voters
Prop 113 – Adopt Agreement to Elect U.S. Presidents by National Popular Vote
“Colorado voters can choose to affirm or reject the legislature’s 2019 decision to join the National Popular Vote Compact… law could eventually bind Colorado and other states to commit their presidential election votes to the candidate who wins the most votes nationally, rather than the candidate who wins the state” (https://www.cpr.org/2020/08/28/here-are-the-eleven-ballot-measures-coloradans-will-vote-on-this-year-from-taxes-to-raffles/ )
Prop 116 – State Income Tax Rate Reduction (Lowering of Flat Tax Rate) (Formerly Initiative #306)
State Income Tax Reduction
Ballot Language: Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes reducing the state income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.55%?
“The measure reduces General Fund revenue by an estimated:
- $78.1 million in the current FY2019-20
- $158.4 million in FY 2020-21, and
- $169.8 million in FY 2021-22”
If passed, the measure reduces income tax rate for tax year 2020, and would be expected to reduce revenue for FY2019/20.
Per the Legislative Fiscal Analysis, households making $50,000 a year would pay $40 less in income taxes annually if the measure passed. A household making $100,000 would pay $80 less, and someone making $250,000 would pay $200 less.
Reduced income tax collection is driving the decline in revenue. Since income taxes are 61% of the General Fund, any time the state isn’t collecting as much of them it means we have less to invest in education, health care, transportation, and other priorities. Even before the current crisis, those collections haven’t been enough to adequately fund our investments.
Prop 117 – Voter Approval Requirement for creation of Certain Fee-Based Enterprises (Formerly Initiative #295)
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?
- An enterprise is a government-owned business authorized to issue its own revenue bonds and receiving 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.
- Local Government Impact:
- The measure does not affect the ability of local governments to create enterprises. To the extent that it results in the submission of more ballot questions to the state’s voters. It will increase election-related workload for county clerks.
- 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.
- Summary of Measure:
- Beginning in 2021, the measure requires that voter approval be obtained in order for new programs to be created as state enterprises for the purpose of Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado Constitution (TABOR), and in order for existing state programs that are not enterprises to qualify as enterprises. The voter approval requirement applies if the program’s projected or actual revenue from fees and surcharges exceeds $100 million over the first five years for which the program will operate as an enterprise. For the purpose of making this determination, projected or actual revenue from enterprises created in the five preceding fiscal years and serving primarily the same purpose are added to the projected or actual revenue of the created ir qualifying enterprise.
- The measure also includes required language to be used in ballot titles for elections required under the measure.
Prop 118 – Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance (Formerly Initiative #283)
Ballot Language: Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning the creation of a paid and medical leave program in Colorado, and, in connection therewith, authorizing paid family and medical leave for covered employee who has a serious health condition, is caring for a new child or a family member with a serious health condition, or has a need for leave related to a family member’s military deployment or for safe leave; establishing a maximum of 12 weeks of family and medical leave, with an additional 4 weeks for pregnancy or childbirth complications, with a cap on the weekly benefit amount; requiring job protection for and prohibiting retaliation against an employee who takes paid family and medical leave; allowing a local government to opt out of the program; permitting employees of such a local government and self-employed individuals to participate in the program; exempting employers who offer an approved private family and medical leave plan; to pay for the program, requiring a premium of 0.9% of each employee’s wages, up to a cap, through December 31, 2024, and as set thereafter, upto 1.2% of each employee’s wages, by the director of the division of family and medical leave insurance; authorizing an employer to deduct up to 50% of the premium amount of an employee’s wages and requiring the employer to pay the remainder of the premium, with an exemption for employers with fewer than 10 employees; creating the division of family and medical leave insurance as an enterprise within the department of labor and employment to administer the program; and establishing an enforcement and appeals process for retaliation and denied claims?
Summary of Measure:
The measure creates a statewide paid family and medical leave insurance program and division as an enterprise in the Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE). The purpose of the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program and division is to provide partial wage-replacement benefits for up to 12 weeks per year to eligible employees, and employment protections for employees that take the leave. Premium payments for the program are split between employers and employees.
Local governments such as county, city and school districts allowed to opt-out
Prop EE – Increase Taxes on Nicotine Products https://leg.colorado.gov/bills/hb20-1427
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
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 20 hours a week of free preschool to children year before they start kindergarten. “Subject to available funding”.
State Ed 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
Other Programmatic expenditures include:
- Tobacco Ed Programs
- Health care
- Cancer and chronic disease detection & treatment
What is a Regressive Tax: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/regressivetax.asp
Campaign website: https://forcokids.com
Amendment B – Repeal Property Tax Assessment Rates (Gallagher) (Constitutional Change) Senate Concurrent Resolution SCR20-001
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?”
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.
Additional background info: Information that State Property Tax Administrator JoAnn Groff presented to the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) as a brief addendum to the May revenue forecast. The mechanics of how the Residential Assessment Rate is calculated, like everything related to Colorado finances, is complicated. She explained the next assessment cycle is 2021-22, with 2021 as the reassessment year. But the cutoff date for valuing properties for that cycle is June 30, 2020. She said growth in values seemed to slow starting in March. But home values seem to be holding while the value of commercial real estate is dropping.
The Division of Property Taxation estimates a 33% drop in value for oil and gas and a 20% drop in commercial, while estimating that residential will go up 10% in value.
“The impact to school districts,” is that the residential assessment rate likely will have to drop next year from 7.15% to 5.88%. (Per Jeffco Schools Director of Budget and Treasury: “For Jeffco schools, the current estimate is a loss of $31.0M”)
Groff calculates that 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, including MLOs and bonds, and a $203 million drop in revenues for counties. Again, an important caveat is that when the state does not have the revenue to backfill K-12, the Budget Stabilization Factor increases
Note: If the Gallagher Repeal is not successful, there will be a significant impact on local governments. For example, Jefferson County will see a $29M decrease in revenue.
Amendment 76 – Citizenship Qualification of Electors (Constitutional change)
“The measure wouldn’t immediately change much, even if it’s approved by voters.
Colorado already bans noncitizens from voting in state and federal elections, according to the Secretary of State’s office. The state constitution says that “every citizen” may vote, and Initiative 76 would change it to say that “only citizens” may vote.
In Colorado, a city could theoretically decide to allow noncitizens into a local election. That’s allowed under the current laws, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
“… the phrasing of Initiative 76 wouldn’t actually stop a city from allowing noncitizen voting…”
Amendment 77 – Local Voter approval of Gaming Limits (Blackhawk, Central City, Cripple Creek)** (Constitutional Change)
Summary of Measure: The Colorado Constitution currently limits gaming to slots, blackjack,poker, craps, and roulette, with a maximum bet of $100 for any game. This measure would allow voters in Central City, Black Hawk, and Cripple Creek to expand bet amounts and the types of games allowed at casinos in the three cities. Additionally, the measure allows gaming revenue distributed to the state’s public community colleges to be spent on programs that improve student retention and increase completion of credentialed programs.