Wednesday, October 6, 2010

House District 6B Community Forum on Amendments 60, 61, and Proposition 101

Lowry residents met at Eisenhower Chapel last Wednesday to hear State Representative Lois Court, Senator Joyce Foster, and Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute Director Carol Hedges, discuss the perils of Amendments 60, 61, and Proposition 101.

“I’m very worried,” said Foster, about the three fiscal ballot initiatives which, if passed, could cause Colorado to lose $6.3 billion from state and local governments, cost citizens approximately 73,000 jobs, and wreck havoc on transportation and education systems. Due to these significant consequences Foster urged the small, mostly mature audience to never “sign a petition that is going to change the constitution.”

Colorado is one of 18 states that allow voter-initiated constitutional amendments, which is how the infamous proposals originated. What makes them appealing to recession-weary citizens is that they would significantly reduce taxes. However, Court insisted that in reality what would result is “a voter-approved recession.”

After Court began the session with short civics lesson on local government law, Hedges gave an hour-long presentation on the promises and penalties of each initiative. Amendment 60 cuts more than $1 billion in property taxes, yet jeopardizes school funding, and shifts fees onto public universities, water authorities, and the Division of Wildlife. Amendment 61 reduces the state deficit, but prohibits all state borrowing for essentials like roads, and hospitals. Finally Proposition 101 caps vehicle registration fees to what they were in 1919, however removes $250 million that could be used for community investments.

“Taxes aren’t in and of themselves evil” said Hedges who believes the public has a tendency to disconnect taxes from benefits. Instead she said taxes are tools because “money is a necessary condition for doing so much of the things we expect in the public sector.” As a result, voters should recognize the need for community investments and vote no come Nov. 2.

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