Ballot issue representatives are nearing the deadline to get their proposals through the Title Board. Many of the petition proponents will present several variations and if title is set, one is chosen to move forward on getting signatures.
The Wednesday, April 20 Title Board Hearing has an exceptional 60 proposals on the agenda because it’s the last chance to get on the 2022 ballot. It’s a long list, but many are variations with a slight tweak. Nearly a 1/3 of the proposals pertain to alcohol licensing, sales, and delivery.
The next largest category is property taxes.
The property tax proposals range from relief offered by tax caps to additional taxes and fees on residential properties valued in excess of $2 million dollars. The proposed additional revenue would then go to subsidize housing under the government’s oversight.
Though I’ll be fighting against any tax hike that makes it on to the ballot, I appreciate the effort it took bigger government proponents to get there. I’m glad I get that choice to vote yes on issues like property tax relief or invest time to defeat any property tax hike that gets on the ballot.
We need the ability to initiate ballot measures as voters. The legislature can write, initiate, and pass a bill within a week if the will exists. Compare that to the voter initiative route which is months and countless hours between volunteers and the paid circulators who go out 8-hours a day in heat or cold to get it done.
Two proposed voter initiatives get into the constitutional issue of the right to voter initiative. The Petition Rights Amendment has title set and is ready for circulation, the measure restores voter initiative rights. The representatives have a sign-up form for anyone wanting to help.
The other issue is one that concerns me because it eliminates voter initiative at the statewide level if a measure affects local property taxes. The petition proponents are on round 2 with this effort. The first time it was numbered #55, but after a Supreme Court challenge filed by opposition, the proponents withdrew the measure, modified the language and are now back as #103. The measure is so broadly written now that it’s easy to envision a long list of court cases interpreting whether future measures “affect government revenues”.
Initiative #103 is one of the harshest threats posed at this Wednesday’s title setting. The proponents are pitching the sale as “local control.” If successful at getting enough signatures and a nod from voters at the ballot, this will eliminate our ability to bring voter initiatives at the statewide level if any measure affects or limits local property taxes. Instead, you get to handle it locally, right? What’s not known by the average voter is that we don’t have the voter initiative at the vast majority of local governments in Colorado. That’s a terrible deal if we lose our right to statewide initiative and have to solely depend on the government.
Natalie Menten is a long time political activist from Lakewood, and a former elected director at the Regional Transportation District (RTD)
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