Especially on Election Day
There was a lot going on this election cycle, proving once again that all politics are local. More than 150 municipal ballot measures in 80 cities and towns across the state – but there also were some key statewide ballot issues with the potential for significant local impact.
On Amendment 74 – Property rights
The overwhelming defeat of Amendment 74 is a testament to the voters’ trust in municipal and county leaders across the state, all of whom spoke in one unified voice about the overreach and unintended consequences of the measure. Kudos especially go to Gov. John Hickenlooper and Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, as well as leaders in the Metro Mayors Caucus and the environmental community, not to mention a host of allied business interests such as the state associations of homebuilders and realtors. This was a very big CML win, very big indeed.
Finally, we tip our hat to the Colorado Farm Bureau. We work on a lot of issues together at the statehouse and will continue to do so. The election is over; time to move on.
On Proposition 112 – Oil and gas setbacks
We were pleased to see 112 defeated. The League was among the first of several statewide associations to come out against it because of the preemption of municipal authority and home rule. We look forward to working with Governor-elect Jared Polis and the next General Assembly to continue to work on reasonable approaches enhancing municipal regulatory authority relative to oil and gas.
We hope the industry demonstrates a willingness to do so as well. That remains to be seen. I am not real happy with the oil and gas folks at the moment. Maybe they might learn a thing or two from the old song about money not always buying you happiness. And, if they have that kind of money to spend, then maybe it is high time to have a knock-down, drag-out on raising severance tax rates and adjusting the ad valorem tax credit. Just sayin’.
On Proposition 109 and 110 – Transportation funding
The League opposed 109 because we were never clear how the bonds would be paid off and the impact this would have on the state’s general fund. We were pleased to see it defeated. This “I can get it for you wholesale” approach to funding critical infrastructure mirrors some of the same failed conversations in Washington.
We supported 110 because it represented real dollars from a dedicated revenue stream to be shared with cities, towns, and transit. We were disappointed - though not surprised - by its defeat. We appreciate the leadership of the Colorado Contractors Association, and my pal of long-standing, Tony Milo.
But remember, this past session of the legislature, a bipartisan measure was adopted to refer a $2.34 billion bond issue for transportation to the voters in 2019 with an identified revenue stream from the state’s general fund (the right way to do things, rather than the 109 approach) to pay off the bonds and also dedicate a portion of the bond revenue for state and local multimodal projects. This is a to-be-continued discussion.
Municipal measures abound
Voters in 80 cities and towns had 150 measures to consider across the state, and they covered everything important to our hometowns.
Here is the “tale of the tape.” Voters continue to say “Yes” far more than “No” to local government investments that need additional revenue. The trust level at the municipal level remains high and it is robust.
We look forward to continuing a strong partnership with the state via Governor-elect Polis and the General Assembly, which convenes in January. It likely will be led by two former municipal leaders, K.C. Becker as House Speaker (former Boulder councilmember) and Leroy Garcia as Senate President (former Pueblo councilmember).
Everyone’s vote counts, and your leadership matters most of all. Onward and upward!