Under the Dome column: A legislator’s take on the fall ballot initiatives
Under the Dome
We just got back from Grand Junction and Club 20’s fall day of debate. All of the western Colorado legislative and statewide candidates are invited to debate, or to present if they don’t have opposition.
I’m unopposed and Joyce’s opponent for the State Board of Education seat didn’t show up, so we both had the stage alone. We thought about debating each other, but I decided I would lose, so I killed that idea. But it was a good day with a lot of our political friends from both sides of the aisle. We heard a lot about getting along and working on tough issues together. I hope we remember all of those fine words when we get back to Denver.
There was a lot of information and debate about the nine ballot initiatives that we get to vote on in November. I don’t usually offer such direct opinions in this column but in this case, some of these constitutional changes would dramatically alter our body of law and be almost impossible to undo later when they create unforeseen problems.
We have a history in Colorado of voting in too many conflicting, difficult and constraining constitutional amendments. You will have more detail available in your “blue book,” but I’ll offer a concise version, and my opinion, in case you don’t have time to do your own research.
• Amendment 71 would make it more difficult to amend the constitution. VOTE YES
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• Amendment 69 would create ColoradoCare, a new state health care system. This massive social experiment is unaffordable, uncontrollable and unworkable. It creates a parallel bureaucracy more costly than the current state government. VOTE NO.
• Amendment T would remove an exception to the prohibition of slavery that allows individuals to be held in involuntary servitude if convicted of a crime. VOTE YES
• Amendment U would grant a property tax exemption for possessory interests whose value is $6,000 or less. It costs more to administer this level of taxation than is collected. VOTE YES
• Amendment 70 would increase the minimum wage. Evidence shows that this kills entry level jobs. VOTE NO
• Amendment 72 was designed to raise the cigarette tax by $1.75 per pack of 20. If you like “sin” taxes vote yes, otherwise no.
Propositions are statute changes.
• Proposition 106 would make assisted death legal among patients with a terminal illness who receive a prognosis of death within six months. Vote your conscience.
• Proposition 107 would restore presidential primary elections held before the end of March and make them open in Colorado. This creates a very confusing ballot. We need a presidential primary, but this is not the way. VOTE NO
• Proposition 108 would allow unaffiliated electors to vote in the primary election of a major political party without declaring an affiliation with that political party. Worse than 107. VOTE NO
I’m still focusing on K12 finance, severance tax issues and Medicaid cost control as the major budget issues heading into the next legislative session. As always, I appreciate your guidance and hearing your concerns.
“Under the Dome” appears on the second Tuesday of the month. State Rep. Bob Rankin, a Carbondale Republican, is in his second term in the state Legislature representing House District 57, which includes Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties.
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