We have been through a lot this year. Spring saw an unprecedented spike in unemployment due to the coronavirus, summer witnessed the largest racial awakening in a generation and this fall will host a presidential election.
With so much happening, our attention has been divided, and many of us have been focusing on what the future will look like. This November, Coloradans will be asked to vote for the president, a senator, congressional representatives, state senators and state representatives, all of whom will be instrumental in shaping the policy of the future.
But Coloradans also get to vote on 11 state ballot measures that will shape ecosystem health, paid medical and family leave, how their communities are funded, who gets to vote, abortion, the future of the electoral college and how the state combats the vaping epidemic.
Below are descriptions of some of those ballot measures and The Alliance Center’s stances on them to serve as a tool to help you navigate this year’s election.
The last day to register to vote and still receive a ballot in the mail in Colorado is October 26, and election day is November 3. Register to vote and manage your registration here.
The Alliance Center Stances on 2020 Ballot Initiatives
Denver Climate Action Sales Tax Increase – the Alliance recommends a YES vote.
The Denver Climate Action Sales Tax increases sales tax in Denver by 0.25 percent to fund the city’s Climate Action Task Force.
By voting yes, you would be supporting the funding of projects that make Denver’s homes, buildings and streets more energy efficient. One of these proposals would retrofit buildings to emit fewer greenhouse gases and incentivize clean energy sources like solar panels. This would also fund the transition of car-first roads to multimodal streets that prioritize a carbon-free fleet of buses, bikes, electric cars, and electric bikes. The sales tax would not be imposed on essential products that are already subject to a lower tax rate.
We think that Denver residents should support this sales tax because it prioritizes and funds projects that will be dedicated to the community with “a strong lens toward equity, race, and social justice,” which is directly in line with The Alliance Center’s vision. With its job creation clause, the measure will also build local workforces by training and creating new careers for under-resourced individuals in renewable and clean energy technology and natural resources management, which aligns directly with the objectives of our Sustainability Skills Initiative. Similar ideas were discussed at the Alliance Center’s Emergence Series this summer and would position Denver favorably to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and fight global warming equitably.
All Colorado Residents:
Colorado Proposition 114, Reintroduction and Management of Gray Wolves – the Alliance recommends a YES vote.
Proposition 114 creates a commission tasked with planning and implementing the reintroduction of gray wolves to Colorado.
Gray wolves have been absent from Colorado since the 1940s and were classified as a federally endangered species in 1978. In 1996, gray wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park with great success. This measure would ensure that the reintroduction does not negatively impact the ecosystem by requiring the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to plan the reintroduction with public input, transparency, and compensation methods for lost livestock.
We recommend you vote yes since apex predators are essential to the health of ecosystems. Gray wolves’ reintroduction would be a win for conservation and ecosystem health in Colorado.
Colorado Amendment B, Repeal Gallagher Amendment – the Alliance recommends a YES vote.
Amendment B will repeal the Gallagher Amendment that requires a residential to non-residential property tax ratio through altering property tax assessment rates.
Voting yes to repeal the Gallagher Amendment would freeze residential tax assessment rates at 7.15 percent, and any future change to this would require voter approval. Since its passage in 1982, the Gallagher Amendment has lowered the residential assessment rates from 21 percent, which has left rural communities with a shrinking tax base and unfunded essential services. Amendment B has bipartisan approval in the state legislature.
We think you should vote for the Gallagher Amendment’s repeal because it would empower rural Coloradan communities by making it easier for them to fund their essential services. When essential services are cut, our least fortunate neighbors are always impacted first. Ensuring equity in our communities is critical to Colorado’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and future growth.
Colorado Proposition 118, Paid Medical and Family Leave Insurance Program – the Alliance recommends a YES vote.
Proposition 118 establishes a paid medical and family leave program to provide 12-16 weeks of paid leave.
By voting yes, you support creating the paid medical and family leave program for employees who are pregnant, facing a serious health condition, or need leave related to a family member’s military deployment. You are also supporting a job protection clause that prohibits retaliation against an employee who takes paid family or medical leave. The funding for this program comes from a premium split by employers and employees, and there are provisions for employers with fewer than ten employees and local governments to opt-out of the program.
We think you should support this measure because it will reduce barriers for employees and increase retention of minority employees, who are disproportionately dealt the burden of choosing between paying bills and taking care of their health.
Colorado Amendment 76 – Citizenship Qualification of Voters – the Alliance recommends a NO vote.
Amendment 76 changes the wording of Colorado’s constitution to read “only a citizen” of the United States can vote.
By voting no, you oppose the change in language, which is currently “every citizen” of the United States can vote. Federal and state law already requires citizenship to register to vote but allow local municipalities to enfranchise non-citizens to vote on local measures. There are currently no municipalities in Colorado that grant such privileges.
We think you should vote against this amendment because it serves as a disenfranchisement tool and aims to solve a problem that does not exist. It would discourage voting from anyone who is an immigrant or has an undocumented family member. In doing so, it disproportionately impacts Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities as an intimidation tactic. At The Alliance Center, we believe citizens that are fully engaged with democracy are necessary for a sustainable and equitable future.
Colorado Proposition 117, Require Voter Approval of Certain New Enterprises – the Alliance recommends a NO vote.
Proposition 117 adds a voter approval requirement for new enterprises that will make more than $100 million in five years.
By voting no, you are supporting the state legislature’s ability to create and secure new enterprises. Enterprises are government-owned businesses that provide a service for a fee or surcharge paid by the service recipient, in contrast to an agency that receives funding from tax revenue. Recent enterprises include the Health Insurance Affordability Enterprise that expanded financial support to individuals and hospitals facing uncompensated care. You can find a list of current state enterprises here.
We think you should vote against this new regulation because it is an expansion of TABOR and ultimately hurts our state’s economy. Enterprises are a sound method of revenue generation for the state, and funding from sources like these will likely be essential to realizing the Regenerative Recovery Coalition’s goals. Opposing this measure would reduce the friction the coalition faces in leading Colorado’s equitable recovery.
Colorado Proposition 115, Prohibit Abortions After 22 Weeks – the Alliance recommends a NO vote.
Proposition 115 establishes an abortion ban at 22 weeks of pregnancy. Currently, Colorado has no limit on abortion based on the duration of the pregnancy.
By voting against proposition 115, you do not support a change in Colorado’s abortion laws that would ban abortion after 22 weeks. The proposal does provide for physicians to perform an abortion after 22 weeks if it is immediately necessary to save the mother’s life. The measure imposes a fine for performing an abortion on physicians and suspends their license for three years.
The Alliance Center aligns our work with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. We take this position against proposition 115 since abortion rights are a fundamental part of gender equity, women’s’ rights and reducing inequalities. This proposition would disproportionately affect low-income communities, who are additionally the most adversely affected by the effects of climate change. At The Alliance Center, we seek to honor women and their right to make decisions related to their own bodies and families.
Colorado Proposition 116, State Income Rate Reduction – the Alliance recommends a NO vote.
Proposition 116 decreases state income tax from 4.63 percent to 4.55 percent.
By voting no, you will be maintaining the current income tax rate of 4.63 percent. The coronavirus pandemic has already created a multi-billion dollar deficit for the state, and losing revenue from income tax would hurt the state’s ability to fund essential services like K-12 education.
We think you should vote no because this would further increase the state’s deficit and make it more challenging for Colorado to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The Alliance Center is leading Colorado’s recovery through the Regenerative Recovery Coalition. To realize the full potential of Colorado’s equitable recovery, the state cannot afford to lose any more funding.
Click here for more information about all ballot measures this November.
These stances were voted on by the Board of Directors of The Alliance Center, and this article was written by Kavitya Sarma, Programs Intern.