Counterpoint: Opposed to Proposition 112
Proposition 112 would harm jobs and our community.
My family’s trucking business is dependent on the oil and natural gas industry in Colorado. We’re not the face of the oil and gas industry, but it’s a big part of who we are and what we do. Proposition 112 threatens our company and the employees who work for us. This unwise measure that would ban oil and gas development in Colorado is sold as a safety measure, but would only cause economic ruin in our state and, in particular, on the Western Slope.
If Proposition 112 passes, Colorado would lose 35,000 to 43,000 jobs the first year and nearly 150,000 jobs in years following. In all likelihood, my job could be one of the 150,000 lost, as we service primarily the oil and gas industry.
Sadly, 77 percent of the jobs ultimately lost in Colorado due to this devastating measure wouldn’t even be in the oil and gas industry. That’s nearly 115,000 jobs in industries like teaching, health care, retail, hospitality, construction, and more.
I feel passing proposition 112 would create another 1982 Black Sunday, and a regional recession for Colorado.
I love living in Parachute, but I worry that this measure will leave little economic activity in an area well-known for oil and gas development, and I am concerned about my employees, their families, friend’s current employment and future employment.
I also am concerned about how this will impact our community. Eighty-two percent of all natural gas and oil revenue goes to local communities where production occurs, providing crucial funding for schools, hospitals, housing, first responders, and other public services that are important to us. Proposition 112 would decrease this funding and would devastate our local communities.
For example, in 2014, $434.7 million in property tax went to counties, cities, and school districts. Over half of the funds collected from property taxes went directly to schools. In addition, over the past 10 years, another $1.4 billion from the State Land Board helped fund schools. This measure would compromise school budgets. Our children are the future and, without the help of the oil and gas, the schools will suffer and our children’s education will suffer, too.
Our local school district relies heavily on the funds that oil and gas development bring. Proposition 112’s proponents refuse to answer how school districts and our state budget would make up the shortfall. This could result in increased taxes on residents, cuts to education services, or negative impacts on teacher pay at a time when our state already grapples with how to best fund education.
What’s more insulting than this terrible measure’s assault on jobs and education is how little it would benefit Coloradans. The measure’s proponents claim that a 2,500-foot setback is necessary to protect the health and safety of residents, but no credible study has shown that this extreme distance offers any additional benefits from the current 500-foot setback. Colorado has the strongest drilling and well regulations in the country.
Please join my family in voting no on Proposition 112 in support of our families, our jobs, and our community.
Kamron Kracht is owner and CFO for H&K Trucking LLC in Parachute.
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I wrote this column to share my story through my cultural assets: Aspirational, linguistic, familial, navigational, social, and resistant. I know we all have an open wound in our lives and I want to share…