By DCGOP Chairman, David Bradford
The November 2, 2021 election not only has a School Board Election, it also includes of 6 ballot issues – 3 statewide, 1-countywide and 2-City of Delta. I’ll try to give a rundown of the four statewide and county-wide issues, a recommendation and the source of the information of the recommendation.
AMENDMENT 78: Custodial Funds Appropriation Initiative
SYNOPSIS: This proposed initiative would amend the Colorado State Constitution. Ballotpedia provides the following information on Amendment 78, “The initiative would transfer the power to appropriate custodial funds (state revenue not generated through taxes) from the state treasurer to the state legislature. Examples of such funds include pension funds and court-approved settlement funds. The measure defines custodial money as money received by the state that (1) originated from a source other than the State of Colorado, (b) was awarded or provided to the state for a particular purpose, and (c) that the state is acting as a custodian or trustee to carry out the purpose for which the funds were provided.
The initiative would create the Custodial Fund Transparency Account within the Department of the Treasury. The account would receive all custodial funds and the general assembly would be responsible for appropriating the funds for purposes as specified by law "on an equitable basis for the benefit of the state." Funds appropriated from the account would be appropriated in a public hearing with opportunities for public comment.
Custodial funds, including interest revenue on the funds, would be retained and spent as a voter-approved revenue change and would be exempt from revenue and spending limitations under TABOR.”
Kristi Burton Brown, Chairwoman of the Colorado State Republican Party issued the following recommendation on proposed Amendment 78 - Amendment 78 is one of the best ballot initiatives to hit Colorado in years. Right now, Democrat Gov. Jared Polis and Democrat Attorney General Phil Weiser spend federal funds like slush money, without transparency and accountability. Amendment 78 would put their spending habits in the spotlight, insisting that these funds make their way through the legislature, allowing citizens to see what their government is doing and have the opportunity to testify for or against the spending. Whenever a ballot initiative proposes a higher level of transparency and accountability in government, it's a no-brainer for the Republican Party!
Commitment to Colorado: Amendment 78 advances #8 on the Colorado Republican Party's Commitment to Colorado: Bring Accountability and Transparency Back to Government! We are proud to stand by this list of solutions for a better Colorado future.
Endorsed by the Colorado Republican Party -- VOTE YES!
Proposition 119: Creation of Out-of-School Education Program and Marijuana Sales Tax Increase Initiative
SYNOPSIS: This initiative would amend a state statute. Ballotpedia provides the following information. “Proposition 119 would create the Learning Enrichment and Academic Progress Program, also known as the LEAP Program. Eligible children would include children at least five years of age and no older than 17 years who are eligible for admission to Colorado public schools. The program would provide out-of-school services that would consist of but not be limited to the following:
· tutoring in core subject areas;
· enrichment opportunities including music, dance, and art programs;
· instruction in English and foreign languages;
· career and technical training;
· emotional and physical therapy;
· mental health services;
· special support for students with special needs; and
The measure would increase the marijuana retail sales tax incrementally from 15% to 20% to partially fund the program. Beginning January 2022, an additional 3% marijuana retail tax would be levied for a total of 18%. Beginning January 2023, the additional tax would increase to 4% for a total of 19%. After January 2024, the additional tax would increase to 5% for a total tax of 20% on marijuana retail sales. Beginning in January 2022, the state treasurer would be required to transfer the revenue generated from the additional marijuana tax to the Learning Enrichment and Academic Progress Fund monthly. If the initiative is approved by voters, any revenue the state collects from the increased marijuana sales tax would be considered a voter-approved revenue change and exempt from the TABOR state spending limit.”
This issue seems less clear-cut than Amendment 78 or Proposition 120 and the Colorado GOP has not made a recommendation on it. However, the Cannabis industry and Progressives are against the measure. That almost seems to Require that we support it. My personal concern is that it creates an additional state agency, Colorado Learning Authority, to administer the Funds. A nine-member board appointed by the Governor would head this agency. Any additional State bureaucracy is probably not a good idea and you never know what direction a new state agency will head once it’s established. So, I have mixed feelings on this issue but I am inclined to recommend a NO vote.
PROPOSITION 120: Reduce Property Tax Rates and Retain $25 Million in TABOR Surplus Revenue Initiative
SYNOPSIS: This initiative would amend a state statute. Ballotpedia provides the following information on Proposition 120: “Proposition 120 was designed to reduce, beginning on January 1, 2022, the residential and non-residential property tax rates. The residential property tax assessment rate would be reduced from 7.15% to 6.5% and the non-residential property tax assessment rate would be reduced from 29% to 26.4%.
The initiative would also authorize the state to retain and spend $25 million in revenue above the state's TABOR spending cap for five years, which it would otherwise be required to refund to taxpayers. These funds would be allocated to local governments for homestead exemptions given to qualifying seniors and disabled veterans. The Colorado Constitution requires the state to reimburse counties and local governments for reduced property tax revenues resulting from the exemption.”
Kristi Burton Brown, Chairwoman of the Colorado State Republican Party issued the following recommendation on Proposition 120 - As the Denver Gazette says, "Cut taxes -- defy politicians!" Prop 120 gives Coloradans the opportunity to pass -- as originally written -- the largest property tax cut in state history. At the end of the 2020 legislative session, the Democrats attempted to cheat and stop Prop 120 from giving voters this chance. However, despite their efforts, Prop 120 is on the ballot and voters can defy the party who always raises their taxes (the Dems) and vote for this cut. Without a doubt, Prop 120 will cut property taxes on apartments and hotel rooms while also allowing counties to offset "homestead" property-tax exemptions that benefit seniors and veterans. If a constitutional challenge to the Democrats' attempt to circumvent Prop 120 wins in court, ALL residential homes will receive a property tax cut. Either way, at a time when housing in Colorado is becoming ever more unaffordable, this property tax cut is a welcome relief.
Endorsed by the Colorado Republican Party -- VOTE YES!
Ballot Issue 7A: Maintain Existing Funding for the Delta County Public Library District
SYNOPSIS: This initiative would allow Delta County to annually adjust the mill levy for the Delta County Library District in order to maintain the current level of property tax revenues.
The following information comes primarily from the flyer sent out by Delta County on the November 2021 Coordinated Election. The adjustment would be based on projected reductions in property tax revenues to the District due to reductions to the residential real estate assessment of 7.15% to 6.15% and the commercial real estate assessment rate of 29% to 26.4% due to Senate Bill 293 that reduced the assessment rate for all other residential property from 7.15% to 6.95% for the 2022 and 2023 tax years. The impact of passing Ballot Issue 7A is that the property tax revenues for the Delta County Library District would essentially remain same. Property tax revenues for the Delta County Library District have fallen a total of $350,492 from 2017 to 2021 (a decrease of 23.45%). The passage of Senate Bill 293 is expected to further increase this decline in revenues. Ballot Issue 7A is intended to stabilize the property tax revenue decline. Without passing 7A, the Library District expects a revenue shortfall of approximately $470,000. This would force the Library District to consider further reductions in service and closing some of the libraries.
If you use and support the Delta County Library District, I believe you should strongly consider voting Yes on this issue. It will not cause an increase in your taxes but will keep the property tax revenues for the Delta County Library District at current levels and allow the Libraries to provide the library services to Delta County residents.
A short note on the Delta County Library District Board. There will be two openings on the Board, after January 1. One opening is in the Hotchkiss area, and one in the Cedaredge area. If you want to help influence what goes on in the Delta County Libraries, you should consider running for one of these openings. The County Commissioners appoint these positions, but the Library Board interviews candidates and makes recommendations. Speak to Sue Whittlesey if you have an interest.
Delta County School Board:
I covered this subject in my last blog but I’ll mention a few things as a reminder. There are two open seats on the School Board in this election cycle and there are six candidates that have applied to run. They are:
District 1: 1) Shannon Crespin, 13144 F Road, Delta CO. Registered R.
2) Kristina Hines, 1519 1200 Road, Delta CO. Registered R.
District 5: 3) Luke McCrain, 39230 Stewart Mesa Road, Paonia, CO. Registered UAF.
4) Nicole Milner, 42549 R25 Road, Paonia, CO. Registered R.
5) Brian Kopko, 42621 Lamborn Mesa Rd., Paonia, CO. Registered R.
6) Jennifer McGavin, 42822 Hidden Valley Rd. Paonia, CO. Registered D.
Our DCRCC Bylaws require the Executive Committee to remain neutral prior to a Primary in these races if more than one Republican is running. Since there is no Primary, we must remain neutral for the election. However, I strongly encourage you to vote Republican! Watch the video recording of the School Board Candidate Forum, that is on our website, http://www.deltacoloradogop.com to help you make up your mind or speak with your PCP to get their take on the matter. But vote Republican! We need to get the vote out and defeat the Democrat candidate!
Finally, here are important dates on how this election will be conducted:
October 11-15, 2021 Ballots mailed to all active voters.
October 25, 2021 In-person voting begins at the Delta County Courthouse.
November 2, 2021 In-person voting available at the North Fork Annex, in Hotchkiss.
November 2, 2021 Election Day.
Delta County Republican Central Committee Chairman