Hello again to everyone. I haven't had as much free time for posting lately, but I thought that I should try to make some time to go over a few more of the ballot issues that Coloradans will be seeing this year. I should also speak about one of my biases. I think that the Citizen Initiative method in Colorado is a bit broken. Activists of all stripes tend to use this process in an attempt to lock things into the state constitution that cannot be easily changed. We elect our General Assembly for a reason. We use a republican model for a reason. Sometimes, it is better to leave the lawmaking in the hands of people who dedicate their lives to it. They are (or should be) experts on it. It is the same as trusting the advice of a doctor or lawyer in the appropriate situations. Therefore, unless I see an initiative that actually changes something that is wrong in the constitution, I will probably vote it down. Even if it is a good cause, a worthy initiative, I will try to block it. Our legislature is in charge of the State budget. If you would like to see more funding go to a specific project, write to your representative or senator and get them to do something about it. Vote people into office who you think will push the causes that you care about. Certainly, our representatives should take the opinions of the electorate to heart, but they also owe us their judgement. If the electorate is pushing Issue X but Rep. Smith knows that passing Issue X would cause a $2 mil shortfall in state revenues, he should vote against it.
Now, on to the main event.
Alright, this is a constitutional ammendment that prohibits government employees from having certain types of witholding. Simply put, I think this is unnecessary. There are already laws that people can opt out of any witholding that they don't want. I'm voting "no" for this.
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning deductions from governmental payroll systems, and, in connection therewith, prohibiting a governmental payroll system from taking a payroll deduction from any government employee except deductions required by federal law, tax withholdings, judicial liens and garnishments, deductions for individual or group health benefits or other insurance, deductions for pension or retirement plans or systems, or other savings or investment programs, and charitable deductions?
SHALL THERE BE AN AMENDMENT TO THE COLORADO CONSTITUTION CONCERNING VOTER-APPROVED REVISIONS TO LIMITED GAMING, AND, IN CONNECTION THEREWITH, ALLOWING THE LOCAL VOTERS IN CENTRAL CITY, BLACK HAWK, AND CRIPPLE CREEK TO EXTEND CASINO HOURS OF OPERATION, APPROVED GAMES TO INCLUDE ROULETTE AND CRAPS OR BOTH, AND MAXIMUM SINGLE BETS UP TO $100; ADJUSTING DISTRIBUTIONS TO CURRENT GAMING FUND RECIPIENTS FOR GROWTH IN GAMING TAX REVENUE DUE TO VOTER-APPROVED REVISIONS IN GAMING; DISTRIBUTING 78% OF THE REMAINING GAMING TAX REVENUE FROM THIS AMENDMENT FOR STUDENT FINANCIAL AID AND CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION AT COMMUNITY COLLEGES ACCORDING TO THE PROPORTION OF THEIR RESPECTIVE STUDENT ENROLLMENTS, AND 22% FOR LOCAL GAMING IMPACTS IN GILPIN AND
TELLER COUNTIES AND THE CITIES OF CENTRAL CITY, BLACK HAWK, AND CRIPPLE CREEK ACCORDING TO THE PROPORTION OF INCREASED TAX REVENUE FROM VOTER-APPROVED REVISIONS IN EACH CITY OR COUNTY; AND REQUIRING ANY INCREASE IN GAMING TAXES FROM THE LEVELS IMPOSED AS OF JULY 1, 2008 TO BE APPROVED AT A STATEWIDE ELECTION, IF LOCAL VOTERS IN ONE OR MORE CITIES HAVE APPROVED ANY REVISION TO LIMITED GAMING?
Simple version of this ammendment: allows cities to set new limits on betting, and changes the allocation of the revenue. I'm not against a constitutional change that would allow the expansion of gambling options. However, tacking on the changes for the revenue targets is not so good. This gets a "no" from me.
SHALL STATE TAXES BE INCREASED $186.1 MILLION ANNUALLY AFTER FULL IMPLEMENTATION BY AN AMENDMENT TO THE COLORADO REVISED STATUTES CONCERNING AN INCREASE IN THE STATE SALES AND USE TAX TO PROVIDE FUNDING FOR LONG-TERM SERVICES FOR PERSONS WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES, AND, IN CONNECTION THEREWITH, INCREASING THE RATE OF THE STATE SALES AND USE TAX BEGINNING ON JULY 1, 2009, BY ONE-TENTH OF ONE PERCENT IN EACH OF THE NEXT TWO FISCAL YEARS; PERMITTING THE STATE TO RETAIN AND SPEND ALL REVENUES FROM THE NEW TAX, NOTWITHSTANDING THE STATE SPENDING LIMIT; REQUIRING AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THE NET REVENUE FROM THE NEW TAX TO BE DEPOSITED IN THE NEWLY CREATED DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES LONG-TERM SERVICES CASH FUND; REQUIRING THE MONEY IN THE FUND TO BE USED TO PROVIDE LONG-TERM SERVICES FOR PERSONS WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES; AND PROHIBITING REDUCTIONS IN THE LEVEL OF STATE APPROPRIATIONS IN THE ANNUAL GENERAL APPROPRIATION BILL EXISTING ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS MEASURE FOR LONG-TERM SERVICES FOR PERSONS WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES?
This is a good example of the worthy cause that should not be an ammendment. Although this is only a statutory ammendment, I'm still against this on the basis that it is an ammendment. Certainly we should fund programs that we have so that they reach the people that need them. Again though, this should just be something that the legislature should take care of in their annual budget vote. If we need additional tax revenue to cover the costs, it can be brought before the voters as a referendum. I would encourage the proponents of 51 to get out and encourage the General Assembly to fund this program. Adding an ammendment to change the sales tax and lock that revenue into one program is not the way to go about this. Fiscal situations change every year, which is why the budget is voted in on an annual basis.