How to Vote on the Ballot Issues

September 24, 2020

Your Denver County ballot this year will be four pages long. Included on this ballot will be many ballot issues that give you the opportunity to help shape the future of our state, and we hope you vote on all of them.

Your Denver County Republican Executive Committee met to discuss these ballot issues and below are our recommendations on how to vote on each one. We give you the short version here, and a longer version with the ballot language and our reasoning below, plus links so you can look at the ballot language yourself.

QUICK GUIDE:

State Ballot Measures:

  • Amendment B: Repeal Property Tax Rates –– VOTE NO
  • Amendment C: Bingo Raffles Allow Paid Help and Repeal Five-Year Minimum –– No opinion
  • Amendment 76: Citizenship Qualification of Electors –– VOTE YES
  • Amendment 77: Local Voter Approval of Gaming Limits in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek –– VOTE YES
  • Proposition EE: Cigarette Tobacco and Nicotine Products Tax –– VOTE NO
  • Proposition 113: National Popular Vote –– VOTE NO
  • Proposition 114: Restoration of Gray Wolves –– VOTE NO
  • Proposition 115: Prohibition on Late Term Abortions –– VOTE YES
  • Proposition 116: State Income Tax Rate Reduction –– VOTE YES
  • Proposition 117: Voter Approval Requirement for Creation of Certain Fee-Based Enterprises –– VOTE YES
  • Proposition 118: Paid Family and Medical Leave –– VOTE NO

City and County of Denver Ballot Measures:

  • Ballot Measure 2A: Climate Change Tax –– VOTE NO
  • Ballot Measure 2B: Funding to Address Homelessness –– VOTE NO
  • Ballot Measure 2C: Professional Services Charter Amendment –– VOTE NO
  • Ballot Measure 2D: DOTI Advisory Board Charter Amendment –– VOTE NO
  • Ballot Measure 2E: Council approves Mayoral Appointments Charter Amendment –– VOTE NO
  • Ballot Measure 2F: Council Meetings Charter Amendment –– VOTE NO
  • Ballot Measure 2G: Expand Council Budget Authority Charter Amendment –– VOTE NO
  • Ballot Measure 2H: Municipal Broadband Ordinance –– VOTE NO
  • Ballot Measure 2I: Clerk’s Appointees Charter Amendment –– VOTE NO
  • Ballot Measure 2J: Pit Bulls Ordinance –– No opinion
  • Ballot Measure 4A: DPS Mill Levy Increase –– VOTE NO
  • Ballot Measure 4B: New DPS School Bonds –– VOTE NO

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STATE BALLOT MEASURES

  • Amendment B – Repeal Property Tax Rates

Constitutional Amendment, Referred by the General Assembly

Without increasing property tax rates, to help preserve funding for local districts that provide fire protection, police, ambulance, hospital, kindergarten through twelfth grade education, and other services, and to avoid automatic mill levy increases, shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution to repeal the requirement that the general assembly periodically change the residential assessment rate in order to maintain the statewide proportion of residential property as compared to all other taxable property valued for property tax purposes and repeal the nonresidential property tax assessment rate of twenty-nine percent?

Text: https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2020A/bills/2020a_scr001_enr.pdf

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE NO

This amendment will wipe out home property tax protections in the Gallagher Amendment and result in greatly increased property taxes after year one.

  • Amendment C – Bingo Raffles Allow Paid Help and Repeal Five-Year Minimum

Constitutional Amendment, Referred by the General Assembly

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning the conduct of charitable gaming activities, and, in connection therewith, allowing bingo-raffle licensees to hire managers and operators of games and reducing the required period of a charitable organization’s continuous existence before obtaining a charitable gaming license?

Text: https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2020A/bills/2020a_hcr1001_rr2.pdf

Denver GOP Recommendation: NO OPINION

This measure makes minor changes in the operations of raffles by charitable organizations.

  • Amendment 76 – Citizenship Qualification of Electors

Constitutional Amendment, citizen initiative

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution requiring that to be qualified to vote at any election an individual must be a United States citizen?

Text: https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Initiatives/titleBoard/filings/2019-2020/76Final.pdf

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE YES

This measure prevents local laws that would allow non-citizens, even those here illegally, to vote in local or state elections.

  • Amendment 77 – Local Voter Approval of Gaming Limits in Black Hawk, Central City and Cripple Creek

Constitutional Amendment, citizen initiative

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution and a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning voter-approved changes to limited gaming, and, in connection therewith, allowing the voters of Central City, Black Hawk, and Cripple Creek, for their individual cities, to approve other games in addition to those currently allowed and increase a maximum single bet to any amount; and allowing gaming tax revenue to be used for support services to improve student retention and credential completion by students enrolled in community colleges?

Text: https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Initiatives/titleBoard/filings/2019-2020/257Final.pdf

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE YES

This measure allows the residents of those cities to make their own decisions about their cities.

  • Proposition EE – Cigarette Tobacco and Nicotine Products Tax

Statutory, Referred by the General Assembly

Shall state taxes by increased by $294,000,000 annually by imposing a tax on nicotine liquids used in e-cigarettes and other vaping products that is equal to the total state tax on tobacco products when fully phased in, incrementally increasing the tobacco products tax by up to 22% of the manufacturer’s list price, incrementally increasing the cigarette tax by up to 9 cents per cigarette, expanding the existing cigarette and tobacco taxes to apply to sales to consumers from outside of the state, establishing a minimum tax for moist snuff tobacco products, creating an inventory tax that applies for future cigarette tax increases, and initially using the tax revenue primarily for public school funding to help offset revenue that has been lost as a result of the economic impacts related to COVID-19 and then for programs that reduce the use of tobacco and nicotine products, enhance the voluntary Colorado preschool program and make it widely available for free, and maintain the funding for programs that currently receive revenue from tobacco taxes, with the state keeping and spending all of the new tax revenue as a voter-approved revenue change?

Text: https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2020A/bills/2020a_1427_rer.pdf

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE NO

This is a huge tax increase with a blank check to the legislature. It covers up for the legislature’s failure to prioritize funding with existing funds.

  • Proposition 113 – National Popular Vote

Statutory Repeal, Citizen Initiative

Shall the following Act of the General Assembly be approved: An Act concerning adoption of an agreement among the states to elect the President of the United States by national popular vote, being Senate Bill No. 19-042?

Text: https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Resources/files/SB19-042FinalBill.pdf

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE NO

This measure would completely undermine the Electoral College, and would mean that California and New York would control all national elections. Don’t let California and New York control Colorado’s vote. Keep the electoral college.

  • Proposition 114 – Restoration of Gray Wolves

Statutory, Citizen Initiative

Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning the restoration of gray wolves through their reintroduction on designated lands in Colorado located west of the continental divide, and, in connection therewith, requiring the Colorado parks and wildlife commission, after holding statewide hearings and using scientific data, to implement a plan to restore and manage gray wolves; prohibiting the commission from imposing any land, water, or resource use restrictions on private landowners to further the plan; and requiring the commission to fairly compensate owners for losses of livestock caused by gray wolves?

Text: https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Initiatives/titleBoard/filings/2019-2020/107Final.pdf

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE NO

This measure ignores the pleas of farmers and ranchers who will suffer the consequences of this introduction of a species not native to Colorado.

  • Proposition 115 – Prohibition on Late Term Abortions

Statutory, Citizen Initiative

Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning prohibiting an abortion when the probable gestational age of the fetus is at least twenty-two weeks, and, in connection therewith, making it a misdemeanor punishable by a fine to perform or attempt to perform a prohibited abortion, except when the abortion is immediately required to save the life of the pregnant woman when her life is physically threatened, but not solely by a psychological or emotional condition; defining terms related to the measure including “probable gestational age” and “abortion,” and excepting from the definition of “abortion” medical procedures relating to miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy; specifying that a woman on whom an abortion is performed may not be charged with a crime in relation to a prohibited abortion; and requiring the Colorado medical board to suspend for at least three years the license of a licensee whom the board finds performed or attempted to perform a prohibited abortion?

Text: https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Initiatives/titleBoard/filings/2019-2020/120FinalCorrected.pdf

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE YES

This measure would prohibit abortions after the 22nd week of pregnancy, when the unborn child is potentially viable outside the womb, and brings Colorado’s laws into line with a majority of states.

  • Proposition 116 – State Income Tax Rate Reduction

Statutory, Citizen Initiative

Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes reducing the state income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.55%?

Text: https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Initiatives/titleBoard/filings/2019-2020/306Final.pdf

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE YES

This initiative would preserve our flat rate income tax (which some have proposed changing) and lower it to allow taxpayers to keep more of their money.

  • Proposition 117 – Voter Approval Requirement for Creation of Certain Fee-Based Enterprises

Statutory, Citizen Initiative

Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes requiring statewide voter approval at the next even-year election of any newly created or qualified state enterprise that is exempt from the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, Article X, Section 20 of the Colorado constitution, if the projected or actual combined revenue from fees and surcharges of the enterprise, and all other enterprises created within the last five years that serve primarily the same purpose, is greater than $100 million within the first five fiscal years of the creation or qualification of the new enterprise?

Text: https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Initiatives/titleBoard/filings/2019-2020/295OriginalFinal.pdf

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE YES

The legislature, supported by a complicit State Supreme Court, has been bypassing our protections in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) by levying “fees” rather than taxes. Especially egregious are the “enterprises.” This measure requires voter approval on any enterprises which generate $100 million or more in the first five years.

  • Proposition 118 – Paid Family and Medical Leave

Statutory, Citizen Initiative

Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning the creation of a paid family and medical leave program in Colorado, and, in connection therewith, authorizing paid family and medical leave for a covered employee who has a serious health condition, is caring for a new child or for a family member with a serious health condition, or has a need for leave related to a family member’s military deployment or for safe leave; establishing a maximum of 12 weeks of family and medical leave, with an additional 4 weeks for pregnancy or childbirth complications, with a cap on the weekly benefit amount; requiring job protection for and prohibiting retaliation against an employee who takes paid family and medical leave; allowing a local government to opt out of the program; permitting employees of such a local government and self-employed individuals to participate in the program; exempting employers who offer an approved private paid family and medical leave plan; to pay for the program, requiring a premium of 0.9% of each employee’s wages, up to a cap, through December 31, 2024, and as set thereafter, up to 1.2% of each employee’s wages, by the director of the division of family and medical leave insurance; authorizing an employer to deduct up to 50% of the premium amount from an employee’s wages and requiring the employer to pay the remainder of the premium, with an exemption for employers with fewer than 10 employees; creating the division of family and medical leave insurance as an enterprise within the department of labor and employment to administer the program; and establishing an enforcement and appeals process for retaliation and denied claims?

Text: https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Initiatives/titleBoard/filings/2019-2020/283Final.pdf

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE NO

This measure creates a statewide MANDATORY family leave program in which all employers with 10 or more employees and all their employees must participate and for which all must pay. This is a hardship on already struggling businesses and families. Further, if used as intended, it will be bankrupt in 2 years.

CITY AND COUNTY OF DENVER BALLOT MEASURES

  • Ballot Measure 2A – Climate Change Tax

Shall City and County of Denver Sales and Use taxes be increased by $40M annually, commencing Jan 1, 2021, and by whatever additional amounts are raised annually thereafter, from a .25% sales and use tax rate (2.5 cents on a $10 purchase) to be used to fund programs to reduce carbon pollution and adapt to climate change. (various programs suggested). To be exempt from TABOR

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE NO

This measure is a substantial tax Increase for unspecified programs.

  • Ballot Measure 2B – Funding to Address Homelessness

Shall City and County of Denver Sale and Use Taxes be increased by $40M annually, commencing Jan.1, 2021, and by whatever additional amounts are raised annually thereafter from a 0.25% sales and use tax rate (2.5 cents on a $10 purchase) that will not be collected on food for home consumption, water, fuel, medical supplies or feminine gyiene products to e used to fund housing, shelter or services for people experiencing homelessness. This tax is exempt from TABOR limits.

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE NO

This is a large permanent tax increase to address an issue that has already been used to extract large, permanent tax increases in the past.

  • Ballot Measure 2C – Professional Services Charter Amendment

Shall the Charter of the City and County of Denver be amended to give City Council the authority to procure for professional services without executive branch approval?

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE NO

This measure gives more power to an already-unbalanced council. Further, the amendments to the city charter are not written into the ballot question, and so the actual amendments are unknown.

  • Ballot Measure 2D – DOTI Advisory Board Charter Amendment

Shall the Charter of the City and County of Denver be amended to create the Board of Transportation and Infrastructure to advise the Manager with respect to the policy and operation of the Department and shall review and comment on the proposed annual budget for the Department?

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE NO

This measure creates another layer of bureaucracy, which will make the City Government even less responsive to residents’ needs.

  • Ballot Measure 2E – Council approves Mayoral Appointments Charter Amendment

Shall the Charter of the City and County of Denver be amended to give City Council authority to consent to certain mayoral appointments?

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE NO

This measure gives more power to an already-unbalanced council. Further, the amendments to the city charter are not written into the ballot question, and so the actual amendments are unknown.

  • Ballot Measure 2F – Council Meetings Charter Amendment

Shall Article III, Part 3, of the Charter of the City and County of Denver be updated to remove outdated language and allow for modernization of the conduct of city business?

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE NO

The “outdated language” to be removed is not specified and there is no standard for “modernization.” This is essentially a blank check to rewrite the city charter.

  • Ballot Measure 2G – Expand Council Budget Authority Charter Amendment

Shall the Charter of the City and County of Denver be amended to give the city council authority to initiate a supplemental appropriation or transfer, following consultation with the Manager of Finance?

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE NO

This measure gives more power to an already-unbalanced council. Further, the amendments to the city charter are not written into the ballot question, and so the actual amendments are unknown.

  • Ballot Measure 2H – Municipal Broadband Ordinance

Shall the City and County of Denver, without increasing taxes by this measure, reestablish the city’s right to provide all services restricted since 2005 by the Colorado General Assembly with their passage of Senate Bill 05-152, including the authority but not obligation to provide high-speed Internet (advanced services), telecommunication services, and cable television services, including any new and improved high bandwidth services based on future technologies, to residents, businesses, schools, libraries, non-profit entities and other users of such services either directly or indirectly with public or private sector partners, as expressly permitted by Article 27, Title 29 of the Colorado Revised Statutes?

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE NO

Broadband services are already available. The City does not need to invest money to compete with private enterprises.

  • Ballot Measure 2I – Clerk’s Appointees Charter Amendment

Shall the Charter of the City and County of Denver be amended to clarify that the Clerk and Recorder may appoint four at-will employees in addition to the Deputy, all of whom shall be exempt from the career service personnel system?

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE NO

This is an invitation to political stacking within the Clerk’s office.

  • Ballot Measure 2J – Pit Bulls Ordinance

Shall the voters for the City and County of Denver adopt an ordinance authorizing the city to grant a provisional permit to owners or keepers of a pit bull, provided the owner microchips the animal and complies with additional requirements set by Denver Animal Protection?

Denver GOP Recommendation: No Position

  • Ballot Measure 4A – DPS Mill Levy Increase

Shall Denver public schools taxes be increased up to $32 million in tax collection year 2021 and by the amounts in any year thereafter as are raised from a mill levy of up to 4 mills pursuant to and in accordance with Section 22-54-108.7, C.R.S., provided that the mill levy for the first year shall not exceed 1.55 mills and no mill levy increase from year to year shall exceed 1 mill, with the effect that more general fund revenues will be available for purposes such as:

  • adding and maintaining mental health professionals and school counselors to support students;
  • adding and maintaining school nurses to support COVID-19 monitoring and prevention as well as other health education;
  • increasing minimum wages for school support staff; and
  • adding cost of living funds to pay educators a living wage; and

Shall such additional revenues from this tax increase be deposited into the supplemental capital construction, technology and maintenance fund and used for ongoing cash funding for capital construction, new instructional technology, existing technology upgrades, and maintenance needs of the district; and shall the district be authorized to increase such mill levy beginning in tax collection year 2022 and annually thereafter to offset property tax refunds or abatements or reductions in the percentage of actual valuation used to determine assessed valuation; and shall Denver public schools publish an annual report on the expenditures of these freed up general funds?

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE NO

Schools already get the benefit of increased property values bringing revenue without tax increase. Also, we need to know what happens in the election regarding the Gallagher amendment. We had a $56.6M increase in mill levies in 2016 for early literacy and social & emotional support. How is that money being spent?

  • Ballot Measure 4B – New DPS School Bonds

Without imposing any new tax, shall Denver Public Schools debt be increased $795 million, with a maximum repayment cost of not more than $1,500 million for the purposes of:

  • maintaining and renovating existing school buildings by replacing leaking roofs, making critical repairs and addressing structural problems;
  • providing cooling systems for high temperature classrooms and schools that lack air conditioning;
  • adding new schools and additional classrooms and making improvements to existing schools to address overcrowding and reduce class sizes;
  • purchasing additional computers so that students have access to technology they need during the COVID-19 pandemic and thereafter;
  • improving learning environments in older school buildings by upgrading science and computer labs and modernizing classroom instructional technology;
  • improving student safety in school buildings and improving security at school entryways;
  • improving and expanding early childhood learning environments;

And other capital improvements; and shall the taxes authorized at the district’s bond elections in 1998, 2003, 2008, 2012, and 2016 be extended and authorized to be used to pay the debt authorized at this election in addition to the debt authorized at such prior elections; shall the mill levy be increased in any year, without limitation of rate but only in an amount sufficient to pay the principal of, premium, if any, and interest on such debt or any refunding debt (or to create a reserve for such payment); and may such debt be evidenced by the issuance of general obligation bonds or other multiple fiscal year obligations that be sold in one series or more, for a price above or below the principal amount thereof, on terms and conditions, and with such maturities as permitted by law and as the district may determine?

Denver GOP Recommendation: VOTE NO

This is not a year to raise taxes. There was a $572M bond for schools that passed in 2016. How is that money being spent?

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