Amendment 58 tops list of important 2008 Colorado ballot initiatives
October 5, 2008 —
Many of you have already decided on who you’ll vote for in the 2008 presidential election – but what about all those referendums and amendments being proposed?
I take a look at these questions vote-by-vote below.
Like most people, I’m likely to vote no on proposed amendments to the Colorado constitution which come along almost every November. I just don’t think it’s worth re-writing our state constitution for these nit-picking little political issues.
This year Coloradoans are inundated with more ballot questions than at any time since 1912 (according to the Rocky Mountain News). Tucked among them are a few which deserve a yes vote because they are good for Colorado, and there are also a few which should be passed because they are simply legal housekeeping. Amendments 53, 55, 56, and 57 may be on your ballot but have been withdrawn and will not be enacted if passed.
The most important, by far, is Amendment 58, which I discuss below.
As someone who votes just left of center, I thought it would be fair to include my views on the Amendments and also the views of conservative Denver talk show host Mike Rosen, who wrote a similar column for the Rocky Mountain News, is planning on voting.
The description of the ballot issues comes from the State of Colorado Legislative Council’s “Blue Book” voting guide.
Referendum L: Lowers the age to serve in the state legislature from 25 to 21. Boyd: No. Rosen: No.
Referendums M and N: Eliminates obsolete language in the state constitution. Boyd: Yes. Rosen: Yes.
Amendment 46: Prohibits Colorado governments from discriminating against people based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national orgin in public employment, public education, or public contracting. Comments: I’m amazed that this one isn’t on the books already. Boyd: Yes. Rosen: Yes. Editor's Note: Boyd has since realized his original folly on Amendment 46. Please visit BAMBOOZLED BY AMENDMENT 46 to read a more detailed description of this misleading bill.
Amendment 47: Prohibits requiring an employee to join and pay any dues or fees to a labor union as a condition of employment and creates a misdemeanor penalty for violation of this law. Comments: This amendment allows for greater freedom of choice among workers and employers. Boyd: Yes. Rosen: Yes.
Amendment 48: Defines the term “person” to include any human being from the moment of fertilization, and gives the fertilized egg the same rights as a human being. Comments: Personhood could possibly be granted at the time of viability, but claiming that a fertilized egg is the same as a human being is absurd. Boyd: No. Rosen: No.
Amendment 49: Prohibits any public employee paycheck deduction except for tax withholdings, court-ordered liens and garnishments, health benefits and other insurance deductions, savings, investments, retirements plans, and other common deductions. Comments: This is reasonable and it keeps outside organizations from using the government to collect fees and dues from government employees. Boyd: Yes. Rosen: Yes.
Amendment 50: Amends constitution to allow Central City, Black Hawk, and Cripple Creek to hold votes which would allow them to raise gambling limits. Comments: We don’t need Colorado to turn into another Vegas, and we don’t need to amend our constitution to allow gambling greed a bigger slice of our state’s revenue pie. Boyd: No. Rosen: Yes.
Amendment 51: Increases sales tax from 2.9 percent to 3.0 percent on July 1, 2009, with new money to be used to pay for services for people with developmental disabilities and to help eliminate the waiting lists for services. Comments: Although I’m all for helping the disabled, now is not the time. This issue could be resolved without raising taxes. Boyd: No. Rosen: No.
Amendment 52: Amends the constitution to require the state legislature to spend a portion of state severance tax collections on highway projects. Comments: This is a bad idea in all ways. I-70 needs upgrades, but this won’t completely solve the problem and it will handcuff our legislature. We elect representatives to the legislature to make these decisions – we don’t need to make these decisions for them. This issue doesn’t belong on the ballot. Boyd: No. Rosen: Yes.
Amendment 54: Prohibits those who receive government contracts from contributing to a political party or a candidate for two years after the expiration of the contract. It also limits the amount the government can give for no-bid contracts. Comments: A few might suffer from this Amendment, which would prohibit a few blue collar folks from fully participating in the money side of the democratic process. The good it would do, however, oughtweighs the bad. Boyd: Yes. Rosen: Yes.
Amendment 58: Eliminates an existing state sales tax credit currently on the books for oil and natural gas companies, allocates increased tax to college scholarships for state residents, wildlife habitat, renewable energy projects, transportation projects and water treatment grants. Comments: Opponents of this bill want Coloradoans to think this is a tax hike, when in fact it’s the elimination of an existing tax credit. Oil and gas drilling will not stop or be hindered by this bill. Coloradoans will finally receive just benefit from the exploitation of our state’s natural resources. This is a no-brainer – the fact that oil and gas have pumped $10.3 million – the most ever raised – into a campaign fighting this bill shows exactly how much they’re willing to spend to avoid sharing profits with the people of Colorado. Boyd: Yes. Rosen: No.
Amendment 59: Eliminates rebates that taxpayers receive when the state collects more money than it is allowed, and the money is instead spent on P-12th grade education. Comments: The problem with our education system isn’t funding, and taking away TABOR rebates to pump more money into a failing education system isn’t the way to solve this problem. Boyd: No. Rosen: No.
Amendments 53, 55, 56, and 57 may appear on the ballot, but have been withdrawn and will not be enacted even if they pass.
Read Mike Rosen’s column at www.rockymountainnews.com
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