Letter: Bait-and-switch amendment
November 4, 2018
Amendment 74 is a bait-and-switch swindle that could cost Colorado taxpayers billions.
The bait: It sounds like a stronger version of existing eminent-domain law titled "Compensation for Reduction in Fair Market Value by Government" that often applies when a road or utility needs a right-of-way across private land.
The switch: A "reduction in market value" can apply broadly to regulations, zoning, and all manner of law. Not only will every level of city, county and state government be tied in knots by lawsuits claiming private property losses, but protections could be suspended due to enforcement cost.
Imagine failure to enforce noise from 24-hour building construction, toxic fumes and odors from an industrial or processing plant, water pollution runoff from private land, and even fire safety codes at your kid's private school.
If you are concerned about a drilling rig next to your home, you may be more concerned about a permanent surface mine grinding rock around the clock, fumes from a new chemical plant, or just a neighbor starting their own industrial enterprise in your previously quiet neighborhood.
But why would this disturbance cost taxpayer dollars? First, because taxes cannot be immediately raised under TABOR to respond to hundreds of lawsuits. Money would be diverted from education, health, safety and administrative services. The intended purpose of those tax dollars would be wasted.
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Second, the side effects of slowing or stopping infrastructure improvements, even private building permits due to the legal jeopardy of regulation, will slow the economic activity in every county.
Third, the reputation of Colorado as a place to live, visit or locate a new business will be significantly damaged. If you love Colorado, vote "no" on Amendment 74.
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