Mike Rosen, Uncategorized

Rosen: My take on the 2020 ballot measures

Amendment B: Repeal Gallagher Amendment

Recommendation: No.

This one is a difficult choice. Gallagher was passed by voters in 1982 to protect homeowners from surging property taxes driven by inflation that pushed up the value of residences. Ever since, that tax burden has been increasingly shifted to businesses, large and small. Gallagher has become a complex and dysfunctional device. The legislature’s cure in Amendment B is worse than the disease. A “No” vote kicks it back to them to come up with something better.

Amendment C: Conduct of Charitable Gaming

Recommendation: Yes

This gives charitable organizations more flexibility in running games of chance like Bingo and raffles to help finance their activities. Government has far more essential things to do than micromanage this activity.

Amendment 76: Citizenship Qualification of Voters

Recommendation: Yes

This makes a simple change in the wording of the Colorado Constitution, which now reads: “Every citizen of the United States” is eligible to vote in Colorado who is registered to vote and meets residency requirements. The change would replace “every citizen” with “only a citizen” and specifies a minimum voting age of 18. It will unambiguously prevent the legislature from changing current law to allow non-citizens and those under 18 to vote, an idea Democrats could well embrace. Opponents absurdly claim this is “divisive and could discourage voters.” Only non-citizens and immature ones.

Amendment 77: Local Voter Approval of Casino Bet Limits

Recommendation: Yes

This would allow local voters to relax some current restrictions on betting which is no one else’s business. Gambling is a voluntary activity between bettors and casinos. To sweeten the pot and attract voters otherwise opposed to gambling, it allows gaming tax revenues to support community colleges.

Proposition EE: Taxes on Nicotine Products

Recommendation: No

Taxes on tobacco and liquor are known as “sin taxes,” which are appealing to “non-sinners” as a punishment, deterrent and revenue raiser at someone else’s expense. The pot sweetener, here, is that revenues will go mostly for education. It would impose a new tax on vaping and more than triple the tax on cigarettes. I don’t smoke or vape but I’m opposed on principle to excessive sin taxes.

Proposition 113: National Popular Vote Compact

Recommendation: Hell No!

A “No” vote on 113 removes Colorado from the conspiracy of Democrat states the legislature joined to rig future presidential elections in their favor. It would ignore the wishes of a plurality of Coloradans and transfer our nine Electoral Votes to the winner of the national popular vote even if that candidate lost in Colorado. For my full explanation of this go to: (LINK TO ROSEN COLUMN OF SEPTEMBER 21)

Proposition 114: Reintroduction and Management of Gray Wolves.

Recommendation: No

This is a citizen initiative placed on the ballot by activists in the Rocky Mountain Wolf Action Fund in the name of ecosystem balance. It doesn’t belong on the ballot; it’s more appropriately addressed by the Division of Parks and Wildlife and the legislature. It’s vigorously opposed by ranchers, farmers, recreationists and many wildlife biologists.

Proposition 115: Prohibit Abortions After 22 Weeks

Recommendation: None

Abortion is an intensely personal issue and resistant to compromise between pro-lifers and women’s reproductive rights advocates. Vote your conscience.

Proposition 116 – State Income Tax Reduction

Recommendation: No

I’d instinctively be supportive to reasonable reductions in our flat-rate income tax cutting everyone’s tax bill. But this year’s coronavirus-driven lockdown and consequent economic crunch have severely squeezed the state budget. Prop 116 was motivated as a response by conservatives and a countermeasure to Initiative 271, a loony concoction of radical left-wingers that would have imposed a $2 billion income tax increase, to fund runaway spending. Apparently, this was too much even for many Democrats in our, now, bluish state. So, 271 supporters failed to get it on the ballot, arguably rendering Prop 116 unnecessary. 116’s reduction in the tax rate from 4.63% to 4.55% is more symbolic than substantive, shaving only $32 on taxable income of $40,000. Better to leave the money in the state treasury for now.

Proposition 117: Voter Approval for Certain New State Enterprises

Recommendation: Yes

In 1992, the people circumvented the legislature to approve TABOR, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, an amendment to the Colorado Constitution requiring direct voter approval for tax increases. All too often, legislators have sneaked around that restriction by mislabeling new taxes as “fees.” Prop 117 would require that significant new state “enterprises” be approved by voters.

Proposition 118 – Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program

Recommendation: No

Given the state of the economy and the consequent state budget crunch, I can’t think of a worse time to impose a new, expensive government-run entitlement that expands the bureaucracy and adds complex regulations. Masquerading as an “insurance” program, Prop 118 increases the payroll tax on employees and even higher on employers. Employees who won’t use and don’t want it will still be taxed. When so-called “insurance premiums” inevitably fall short of expenditures; employees, employers and taxpayers will get the bill. In the Titles and Text section of the Blue Book, its details fill 15 small-print pages! (The average of the other 10 ballot questions is one page.). Bernie Sanders would love it.

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