As promised, I wanted to go through the 2022 ballot initiatives so that you will know how these initiatives will impact you.
Please note: The information contained in this blog is taken directly from the Blue Book with additional questions or comments representing the opinion of the author. No content on this blog constitutes legal advice, and content should not be construed as or relied upon as such. All content on this blog is provided solely for the purposes of information and commentary. Content on this blog does not substitute for consultation with an attorney. For legal advice, consult an attorney. Links to external content do not constitute endorsements of the publishers or content.
The Ballot Initiatives
Here's a link to a news article so that you can read the initiatives:
Amendments to the Constitution - Amending the Constitution of the State of Colorado requires a majority of voters to approve. Should the Constitution change, it will remain so until it is repealed or altered by the citizens. 55% must vote to alter the Constitution.
Amendment D: New 23rd Judicial District Judges
Voting Yes: Mandates the Governor, in his sole discretion, to require judges from one district to move to another district to serve the remainder of their term(s) in the new district.
However, looking at this from an Assessor's point of view, if the judge is 62 and is looking to retire at 65, they will need to wait until they are 72 years old (or 7 years past retirement) to receive the "homestead" exemption.
Note: Who gets to pay for these judges to move to the new district?
Voting No: Judges can be appointed through the vacancy process.
Amendment E: Extend Homestead Exemption to Gold Star Spouses
Yes: Extends the existing homestead exemption to spouses who died in the line of duty or as a result of his/her service-related injury will receive the “homestead” exemption. The state estimates that this will cost $288,000 for 2023-24 (page 12).
No: The homestead exemption will stay as is.
Amendment F: Changes to Charitable Gaming Operations - NOTE - I believe a similar initiative was on the 2020 Ballot and was DEFEATED
Yes: A nonprofit is only required to operate for 3 years (instead of 5) to apply for a bingo-raffle license and to allow bingo-raffle workers to be paid. Voting yes will cost you (through your taxes to the State) an estimated $274,000 ($294,000 needed for increased regulations/oversight less the $20,000 generated in new licensing fees as they must be registered with the Secretary of State) for 2022-2023, which amount is expected to increase to over $400,000 in 2023-24. (Page 14)
After June 30, 2024, "bingo-raffle workers may be paid any amount agreed upon by the workers and nonprofit organization." (Page 14). Emphasis added.
No: No change to the Constitution.
Proposition FF: Healthy School Meals for All
Yes: Voting yes would give free meals to all school children, amend the Colorado tax code by increasing taxes for those making over $300,000 year in adjusted gross income (pages 16-17)*, and create more regulation (special grants for schools, increase in wages for those that prepare the food, create “committees” to “ensure” meals are “healthy” and “appealing to all students” [page 17]).
*The increase in the income tax revenue to the state "is not subject to the state's constitutional revenue limit." (Page 17).
Note: The phrase “appealing to all” is overbroad – there will always be that one student who does not find it “appealing.”
No: The current system for providing free meals only to those households that qualify and no changes to the Colorado Tax Code.
Proposition GG: Add Tax Information Table to Petitions and Ballots
Yes: This will cost the State and County governments by “increasing technology costs” to modify the ballots at the state level, and increased printing costs and mailing costs for all counties. (Page 22).
No: Keeps the same ballot format.
Proposition 121: State Income Tax Rate Reduction
Yes: Reduces the state income tax rate for individuals and corporations from 4.55 to 4.40%.
While the amount returned under TABOR may be reduced, and is expected to cost $11,000, it is expected to have no impact in the General Fund. (Pages 24-25).
Note: Historically, reductions in tax rate increases revenue.
No: Keeps the rate at 4.55.
Proposition 122: Access to Natural Psychedelic Substances
Yes: Decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms and certain other plant based psychedelic substances for those 21 years and older. Allows for: limited personal possession, use, and uncompensated sharing of natural medicine"; "retroactive removal and reduction of criminal penalties related to the possession, use and sale" (Page 47).
Requires they be used 'under supervision' - the "state must create a regulatory structure for the operation of these licensed facilities." (Page 26).
Establishes a 15-member advisory board as appointed by the governor. Page 27.
Expenses under the state Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) are projected to be the same amount as revenue created (Pages 28-29). HOWEVER, this will require the local government to regulate the time, and manner of operation, and will result in increased "workload and spending" at the local level (Page 27); requires "developing and promoting public education" and "appropriate training for first responders." (Page 48). Localities can't ban or completely prohibit "a licensed health care facility" from providing these services if they are permitted to provide them by DORA. (Page 51). Emphasis added.
No: Possession and use remains illegal.
Proposition 123: Dedicate Revenue for Affordable Housing Programs
Yes: Increases state spending by transferring funds from the "general fund" to pay for "affordable housing programs." This amount will increase by 3% every year.
Under this measure, to qualify for funding, local governments must also commit to increase affordable housing by 3% year over year. (Page 31)
These amounts will fall outside of the Constitutional revenue limit (page 30) and are not only not subject to TABOR could result in TABOR being reduced as it estimates "decreases" amounts returned by $43 in 2023 per taxpayer, and further reduces the amount by $86 per taxpayer in 2024. (Page 33).
Note: The amount increases 3% year over year, with the department of Local Affairs keeping 5% of funds for administrative costs ($5.8M for 2023-24 budget) and the Office of Economic Development is able to keep 2% of funds for its administrative funds ($3.48M for 2023-24 budget). For example, say we have 1,000 homes here in Pueblo County in year 1. By year 5, this number becomes approximately 1,125. That's another 125 homes that will require maintenance and management, not to mention having to locate/purchase and bring up to code all the homes that are purchased. This inventory increases by 3% every year, which will also increase the budget needed and sizes of the regulatory agencies.
No: State revenue will be spent on “priorities as determined by the state legislature” or returned to taxpayers.
Proposition 124: Increase Allowable Liquor Store Locations
Yes: Allows more than 3 locations for liquor stores licensed on or before 1.1.2016, the holder is a Colorado resident, and satisfies distance requirements (on or after 1/1/22 and before 1/1/27 up to 7 additional; after 1/1/27 and before 1/1/32 up to 12; after 1/1/32 and before 1/1/37 up to 19 for a maximum of 20; after 1/1/37 an unlimited number. (Page 58). Emphasis added.
expected to "minimally impact" local governments, state agencies and "is assumed to be less than $10,000 per year." (Page 35)
No: Retains the three-location limit through 2026, and four locations thereafter.
Proposition 125: Allow Grocery and Convenience Stores to Sell Wine
Yes: Licensed grocery/convenience stores that currently sell beer are allowed to sell wine.
Requires a "one-time computer programing" fee of $5,000 together with increased costs to the state/local governments to process license conversion.
Note: Total cost unknown.
Proposition 126: Third Party Delivery of Alcohol Beverages
Yes: Allows third parties to deliver alcohol and moves up the "take out" availability from the current year it is to take effect (2025).
The measure requires increased regulations and permitting for 3rd parties to deliver alcohol, with the State Licensing Authority creating rules as necessary. (Page 64).
Increases the size of the Department of Revenue (page 39) and increases costs. (Page 39). Also requires a “technology services company” to provide “software of a digital network application” connecting consumers and licensed retailers. (Page 63).
Note: This opens the 3rd party up to possible litigation as they must verify age though “proper” identification and conduct a sobriety test (they can’t deliver to an intoxicated person). Requires proof of general liability insurance coverage of $1M per occurrence. (Pages 63-64). With the increase in size in the department of revenue, new 'technology services company,' and insurance needs, these fees could be passed along to all consumers, not just those that take advantage of the service.
Pueblo County Ballot Question 1A
Term limits for assessor, clerk and recorder, treasurer and county commissioners be limited to 3 consecutive terms beginning on or after 1/1/23.
Note: This limits office holders to "consecutive" terms. This means that an office holder could be voted out or retire, only to have the 3 "consecutive" terms clock start all over again.
Pueblo County Ballot Question 1B
Providing telecommunications services, high-speed internet serves and/or cable tv to residents, businesses, schools, libraries, nonprofits and other such users either directly or indirectly with public or public or private sector partners as permitted by Sections 29-27-101 to 304?
Note: I have limited information on this ballot initiative. Upon review of the relevant code sections, I have some concerns after reading the 2005 statute. As these services are already provided by non-government actors, based on the limited information that I have, I don't see a reason for this initiative other than to potentially increase costs, regulations and who could provide these services.
Here are some relevant sections of the code:
"(1) Nothing in this article shall be construed to authorize any local government to:
(a) Provide, directly or indirectly, cable television service, telecommunications service, or advanced service; or (b) Purchase, lease, construct, maintain, or operate a facility for the purpose of providing, directly or indirectly, cable television service, telecommunications service, or advanced service.
(2) Nothing in this article shall be construed to apply to a local government purchasing, leasing, constructing, maintaining, or operating facilities that are designed to provide cable television service, telecommunications service, or advanced service that the local government uses for internal or intergovernmental purposes."
- Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 29-27-302 (West)
"(1) Before an individual subscriber or a private provider that competes with a local government in the geographic boundaries of the local government may file an action in district court for violation of this article, that person shall file a written complaint with the local government. The failure by the local government to issue a final decision regarding the complaint within forty-five days shall be treated as an adverse decision for purposes of appeal."
- Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 29-27-303 (West). Emphasis added.
"This article shall apply to cable television service, telecommunications service, and advanced service and to the purchase, lease, construction, maintenance, or operation of any facility for the purpose of providing such service, for which a local government has not entered into an agreement or otherwise taken any substantial action prior to March 1, 2005, to provide such service or purchase, lease, construct, maintain, or operate such facilities."
- Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 29-27-304 (West)
Municipal Ballot Measures
City of Pueblo Ballot Question 2A Expand Local Broadband Services
This is the same as the County Ballot 1B (see discussion above)
City of Pueblo Ballot Issue 2B Extension of the Public Safety Sales Tax for 5 Years
Yes: This is an extension of a temporary tax which was scheduled to expire. While this technically does not "add" to your taxes, it is tax that was to be "temporary" at the time it was originally voted on and was set to expire at the end of December of this year. The tax amount is one-fifth percent (0.2%) which was/is to be used for "police personnel and operating fund."
Metropolitan District Ballot Measures
PUEBLO WEST METROPOLITAN DISTRICT BALLOT ISSUE 6C
Yes: Adds another 1 cent sales tax for "MAINTAINING, REPAIRING, AND IMPROVING ROADS AND BRIDGES, AS WELL AS ASSOCIATED DRAINAGE AND STORMWATER FEATURES AND FACILITIES, EXCLUSIVELY WITHIN THE BOUNDARIES OF THE PUEBLO WEST METROPOLITAN DISTRICT." These funds, while collected by Pueblo West, will be used by Pueblo County to maintain/repair/improve roads in Pueblo West - it also establishes an oversite committee regarding these funds. The additional 1 cent sales tax will "sunset" (be in place for) in 10 years.
PUEBLO WEST METROPOLITAN DISTRICT BALLOT ISSUE 6D
Yes: This changes how the current sales tax of 1% is used by adding "staffing and adding additional fire stations" in Pueblo West.
The information contained in this blog is taken directly from the Blue Book with additional questions or comments representing the opinion of the author. No content on this blog constitutes legal advice, and content should not be construed as or relied upon as such. All content on this blog is provided solely for the purposes of information and commentary. Content on this blog does not substitute for consultation with an attorney. For legal advice, consult an attorney. Links to external content do not constitute endorsements of the publishers or content.