There’s no presidential election or U.S. Senate contest on the 2019 ballot, but the Nov. 5 election will ask Colorado voters two fiscal questions with major ramifications for the future of the state.
Proposition CC and Proposition DD pose questions related to taxes — whether to keep the tax money the state collected and whether to add a new tax on sports gambling. And the interests that will benefit are spending big money to make their case. Ballots hit the mail starting Friday.
Here’s a look at the two statewide ballot questions. (Click the links below to jump to that section.)
Here’s what the ballot question asks: “Without raising taxes and to better fund public schools, higher education, and roads, bridges, and transit, within a balanced budget, may the state keep and spend all the revenue it annually collects after June 30, 2019, but is not currently allowed to keep and spend under Colorado law, with an annual audit to show how the retained revenues are spent?”
What it really means: Prop. CC is asking for voter permission to end the limits on state tax revenue embedded in the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, known as TABOR.
If voters agree, the state would be allowed to keep an additional $542 million to $1.7 billion more in the next three years and split the money evenly between K-12 education, higher education and transportation.
If voters say no, money would be returned to taxpayers as a TABOR refund, and likewise in any years when tax collections exceed the limits. The latest projections from legislative economists show taxpayers would receive anywhere from $20 to $62 for single filers and $40 to $124 refunds for joint filers, depending on a person’s income. But the rebate could reach as much as $248 for single filers and $638 for joint filers over three years, if estimates from the governor’s office are correct.
The supporters say: Led by education advocates, colleges and the transportation industry, the measure’s advocates argue that the money is required to help keep pace with Colorado’s economic growth and meet long-ignored needs in the state. It doesn’t increase the tax rate but allows the state to keep existing tax revenues, and retains the TABOR requirement that voters approve new taxes.
The opponents say: A consortium of fiscal conservatives believe state government collects enough taxes under the TABOR cap and doesn’t need the additional money. The critics also point out that it holds no guarantee that the three priority areas — education, higher education and transportation — will get new dollars. State lawmakers can change the law directing how the money is spent or move existing appropriations in the budget.
What to know more? Click below.
- Proposition CC explained: What it means to end the spending caps in TABOR and the money at stake
- Is Proposition CC really a tax hike? The answer is sort of.
- The political stakes for Proposition CC are huge. It’s a test case for a major fiscal overhaul in Colorado.
- New projections show how much money is at stake on the 2019 ballot with Proposition CC and TABOR refunds in Colorado
- Here’s what you should know about how TABOR led to this moment.
- Here’s a guide to how the Colorado state budget works, and how much is spent
- What you need to know about TABOR, Gallagher, Amendment 23 and the hidden forces that constrain spending in Colorado
Here’s what the ballot question asks: Shall state taxes be increased by twenty-nine million dollars annually to fund state water projects and commitments and to pay for the regulation of sports betting through licensed casinos by authorizing a tax on sports betting of ten percent of net sports betting proceeds, and to impose the tax on persons licensed to conduct sports betting operations?
What it really means: A U.S. Supreme Court case in 2018 struck down a federal prohibition on sports gambling in most of the country, allowing states to move forward with legalization. The taxes the state would impose on sports gambling would generate between $6 million and $15 million annually in the first three years.
The revenue from taxing sports bets would first go toward covering the cost of the state’s regulation of gambling. The next portion goes to local governments that may see reduced tax revenues from existing forms of gambling and horse-race betting. Another portion goes to treating gambling addiction and a crisis-support line. The remaining money would go toward projects on the state’s water conservation plan. The full cost of the water plan is estimated between $20 billion to $40 billion.
What supporters say: A bipartisan coalition, backed with money from casinos and sports betting industry, is pushing Prop. DD and touting that it will help with a perpetual issue in Colorado, namely the lack of water available to support population growth, industry and agriculture.
What opponents say: The opposition is not well-funded or organized. And it splits into different camps. An environmental organization is worried that the gambling revenues will fund water projects like dams that would interrupt the normal flow of the state’s rivers.
Other opponents include Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute, which said “gambling is sinful, it disproportionately harms the poor, is rooted in the sin of greed and it leads to the breakdown of the family.”
Want to know more? Click below.
- Prop. DD explained: What sports gambling would mean in Colorado and how much (or little) it would generate
- As Colorado considers whether to OK sports betting, a regional divide on the issue has surfaced across the U.S.
This page will continuously be updated ahead of the November election.
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