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Ballot

Business on the Ballot: 2021 Voting Guide

How you vote affects our region’s business climate and the success and prosperity of Coloradans. This year, we’ve identified one critical statewide issue and three local issues that businesses should pay close attention to. Here are three ways you can learn more about the ballot measures and how they could impact your organization:

 

How we make policy recommendations

Each proposal related to our legislative agenda has been carefully studied by Chamber & EDC staff and our Government Affairs Council after hearing from advocates on both sides of the issues.

 

Registering to vote and returning your ballot

Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 2. Colorado’s elections are conducted by mail and your ballot must be returned by 7 p.m. on election day – postmarks don’t count. Find a 24-hour secure drop-off box near you here. Learn more about election security here. Colorado’s success with mail ballot elections is renowned. Chuck Broerman, El Paso County’s clerk and recorder, shares more about the state and local election success here.

You can register to vote through election day. Check or update your registration and ballot status at www.govotecolorado.com. To get a replacement ballot, call (719) 575-VOTE, email, [email protected], or visit a Voter Service Center.

 

The 2021 ballot

Ballots need to be returned by Tuesday, Nov. 2. See a sample ballot.

 

STATE BALLOT MEASURES

Prop 120 | Reduce Property Tax Assessment Rates

We support

To better understand what Prop 120 will do, let’s take a look at how property taxes are calculated in Colorado.

 

  • Your assessed property value, or the taxable value of your property, is the market value of your property multiplied by the assessment rate.
  • Your assessed property value is then multiplied by a mill levy, which equals your property tax bill.

 

What it does:

  • Reduces the residential and non-residential property assessment rates by 9%.
  • Funds the Homestead Exemption, which gives seniors and disabled veterans a break on their property taxes, keeping them in their homes.

Why we’re supporting it:

  • As Front Range property values skyrocket, property tax bills continue to rise.
  • Property taxes are already disproportionately high on commercial and business properties, threatening our competitive business climate. Residential property tax bills are contributing to our housing affordability crisis, which threatens the quality of life and our ability to attract and retain the workforce Colorado businesses need.
  • State and local governments will still see an increase in tax revenue in future years, even if Prop 120 passes.

Property tax to local governments and school districts continues to grow, even if Prop 120 passes.

Don’t just take our word for it, though. Here is what others are saying:

 

LOCAL BALLOT MEASURES

Two of the local ballot measures we’re supporting deal with TABOR (Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights) regulations. Before we get into each measure, let’s take a quick look at how it works. TABOR limits the amount of revenue the state and local governments can retain. The TABOR limit is equal to the lesser of the prior fiscal year’s revenue limit plus the rate of inflation and population growth or the current fiscal year’s revenue. Voter approval for certain tax increases, as well as resets and retention of funds, is required.

 

El Paso County 1A | TABOR reset
We support

What it does:

  • Resets the constitutional limit on taxes the County may collect and keep.
  • Designates the projected $15 million in additional collections this year to road and park projects.

Why we’re supporting it:

  • Resetting the County’s tax collection base creates additional dollars for the County to keep up with the needs of our rapidly-growing region.
  • Addressing transportation challenges has been one of our members’ top priorities for nearly a decade.
  • 1A provides funding for parks over-stressed by an increase in use during the pandemic, helping our region to maintain the outdoor recreational options so many of us prize in Colorado.

 

City of Colorado Springs 2C | TOPS
We support

What it does:

  • Renews the successful Trails, Open Space, and Parks (TOPS) program for another 20 years.
  • Increases the program’s sales tax funding from one penny on a $10 purchase to two pennies on $10.
  • Adjusts the program’s funding allocations to address the $270 million backlog in City park maintenance.

Why we’re supporting it:

  • The TOPS program has a track record of success, protecting some of our most prized open spaces and building neighborhood parks and trails.
  • Continued investment in our outdoor recreation options helps us maintain our high quality of life, manage demands on parks and trails, and build new parks in underserved neighborhoods.

 

City of Colorado Springs 2D | TABOR retention and reset for wildland fire mitigation
We support

What it does:

  • Resets the constitutional limit on taxes the City may collect and keep.
  • Uses $20 million in tax over-collection to create a wildfire mitigation program.

Why we’re supporting it:

  • As our region and the Western US grow, more development is happening in the wildland-urban interface, increasing the likelihood of catastrophic wildfires that threaten businesses, homes, air quality, forest health, and economic vitality. We must increase our fire mitigation efforts to protect our communities.
  • Each year, 2D will increase the capacity of fire mitigation programs from 2,000 acres to up to 7,000 acres.

 

Also on your ballot

The Chamber & EDC has not taken a position on the following ballot measures, but you will see them on your ballot.

STATE BALLOT MEASURES

Amendment 78

What it does:

  • Amend the state constitution to take control of custodial funds away from the governor and give the legislature the power to spend them instead. The legislature holds the purse strings for the state budget.
  • Custodial funds are things like legal settlements, federal grants, and gifts to the state.
  • Proponents say these kinds of funds are increasing dramatically and so should be subject to the more public budget process that the legislature uses. Opponents say the change would slow down the dollars getting to their intended recipients.

Proposition 119

What it does:

  • Raises taxes on recreational marijuana 5% over 3 years to fund a new state program, “Learning Enrichment and Academic Progress,” which would fund tutoring and other services for kids ages 5-17. Low-income students would receive priority and parents would control how the dollars are spent.

 

LOCAL BALLOT MEASURES

Colorado Springs – Briargate Special District

  • 6B: Corrects a long-standing property tax inequity issue dating to the 1980s. The current special improvement maintenance district taxes about 75% of the 10,000 homes in Briargate, while all of the homeowners receive the district’s services. 6B will create a new general improvement district for the neighborhood to care for common areas, such as medians and parks, and incorporate the missing homes to ensure that all residents served by the district are paying property taxes. A citizens group has been working for three years on a way to rectify the problem. The group backs this ballot question.

 

 

 

Town of Monument

  • 2E: Retain TABOR over-collections for 2021 – 2028, funds to roads; sets 2029 as the base year
  • 2F: Increase town sales tax 0.5% to fund additional police officers, replace patrol cars
  • 2G: Forms a home-rule charter commission

School districts

  • 4A: D49 – increase mill levy up to 6.5 mills to increase staff pay
  • 4B: D11 – issue $350 million in bonds to rebuild and renovate 16 schools
  • 4C: D14 – issue bonds to match a state grant, construct and remodel facilities
  • 4D: D2 – remove TABOR cap
  • 10 districts: board member elections

Security Fire District

6A: Increases property tax by 6.4 mills to hire more firefighters and paramedics, replace equipment

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