State Senator Bob Rankin and the Democrats at the legislature are trying to do something that’s never been done before. They are trying to prevent a citizens’ ballot initiative from being implemented before voters even get to weigh in on it. More specifically, they are changing a few definitions in the law so that no matter how you vote this November, they have preordained the outcome.
To put this discussion in perspective, government has more revenue now than ever. The state budget is over $34 billion – and state and local governments in Colorado have received over $12 billion in federal stimulus funds over the last year. On top of that, legislators just passed a bill to raise $3.8 billion in new fees – primarily coming from an increased gas fee. Senate Rankin was even quoted earlier in the year saying: “[The state] had too much money…We cannot be good stewards of money because there’s too much of it.”
On the other hand, families and small businesses are having a hard time making ends meet. Unemployment is up, the cost of living is up, and property values are up. And we know that just because your property goes up in value, it doesn’t mean you have more money in your pocket to pay for the increased property taxes. When property taxes go up too fast, low- and middle-income Coloradans are hurt the most.
This is why Initiative #27 is so important. This ballot measure would allow voters to decide if they want a 9% property tax cut. This would provide $1 billion in tax relief across the state – and would also provide an additional $25 million per year to help fund the homestead exemption to help seniors and disabled veterans with their property taxes.
Senator Rankin admitted last week that he believes this ballot issue will not only get the necessary signatures to be on the ballot, but that it will also pass in November. So why is he sponsoring a bill to overturn that vote? It is a good question to ask him, but I think the answer is simple. He thinks he knows better than voters.
But it’s not just him. There is a whole mentality at the Capitol where legislators want to go around voters instead of trying to convince them. This leads to less trust in government, which isn’t good for anyone.
One positive thing is there’s solid legal ground for the voters to win out if they pass Initiative #27 in November. Since the ballot issue will pass after this bill at the legislature, it should end up being controlling.
If you agree that this should be up to voters at the ballot box and not legislators at the Capitol, you can do two things. First, contact your state senator and representative and tell them to stop with the legislative shenanigans and allow the voters to decide by voting no on Senate Bill 293. The next thing you can do is sign the petition to put Initiative #27 on the ballot this November.
Michael Fields is executive director Colorado Rising State Action and a proponent of Initiative #27.
Our unofficial motto at Complete Colorado is “Always free, never fake, ” but annoyingly enough, our reporters, columnists and staff all want to be paid in actual US dollars rather than our preferred currency of pats on the back and a muttered kind word. Fact is that there’s an entire staff working every day to bring you the most timely and relevant political news (updated twice daily) from around the state on Complete’s main page aggregator, as well as top-notch original reporting and commentary on Page Two.
CLICK HERE TO LADLE A LITTLE GRAVY ON THE CREW AT COMPLETE COLORADO. You’ll be giving to the Independence Institute, the not-for-profit publisher of Complete Colorado, which makes your donation tax deductible. But rest assured that your giving will go specifically to the Complete Colorado news operation. Thanks for being a Complete Colorado reader, keep coming back.