Barbara Koelzer, Regional Government Affairs Director
County Voters Go Own Way on State Ballot Questions: Boulder County voters supported Proposition 110 (sales tax for transportation) and Prop 112 (gas and oil setbacks), although both measured were voted down by the State as a whole. This isn’t exactly surprising though. This county is the epicenter of opposition to the gas and oil industry, and voters typically support tax increases.
Local Ballot Questions Pass: All three local questions, which asked voters to allow the City to finance improvements to city buildings, fire stations and recreation facilities all passed. It isn’t surprising that Ballot Question 3C (recreation) passed by the lowest margin – 55 percent compared to 72 percent in favor of fire station improvements and 63 percent supporting improvements to government buildings. The Longmont Association of REALTORS® endorsed all three ballot measures.
CAR State-level Candidates Defeated: CAR endorsed a Republican slate of candidates for governor, secretary of state, treasurer and attorney general, but the “blue wave” descended on Colorado and their Democratic opponents won handily. There haven’t been any post-election polls, so we don’t know why voters chose them. It was an expensive election, that is for sure. Jared Polis, Colorado’s Governor-elect, spent $20 million on his campaign.
CAR General Assembly Candidates Mostly Successful: Most of the candidates endorsed by CAR won their elections. Eleven of thirteen senatorial candidates supported by CAR won. In the House, 44 of 48 candidates CAR endorsed were successful including CAR’s Legislators of the Year, Tracy Kraft-Tharp, Kevin Van Winkle, Terri Carver, Matt Gray, and Alec Garnett. Hopefully CAR’s positive relationships with these legislators will prove helpful in the 2019 legislative session. Note: Although CAR received some criticism for endorsing all GOP candidates for state-level candidates, the Association endorsed equal numbers of legislative candidates from both sides of the aisle, which demonstrates CAR’s non-partisan philosophy.
Ballot Question Results Contradict Blue Wave: The voters’ decisions on some ballot questions are seemingly at odds with their candidate selections. Amendments Y and Z, supported by CAR passed. This means that when redistricting happens in 2020, we should see more competitive districts, which is better for everyone.
Amendment 73, which would’ve increased income taxes for people in higher tax brackets as well as corporations to fund K-12 education, failed, with 54 percent of voters opposing it. This is frustrating to educators and many Democrats. Now that the Dems have a majority in both chambers, they will look for another funding solution. CAR opposed Amendment 73.
Amendment 74, the takings initiative, was also defeated. CAR spent a lot of time educating its members on this measure, which sounded simple but could many negative consequences for government. CAR opposed Amendment 74.
Proposition 110, the sales tax measure that would fund transportation at state and local levels was opposed by nearly 60 percent of voters. CAR supported this ballot question but apparently voters across Colorado were in no mood to increase sales tax and feel the State will have to find another way to fund transportation. Transportation wasn’t a high priority with Governor-elect Polis, however, and it remains to be seen if it will be an important issue in the legislature.
Proposition 112, which would’ve increased oil and gas setbacks, was defeated with over 53 percent of voters saying no. The polling on this measure went back and forth but, in the end, the industry’s barrage of ads against it turned the tide. However, the new Speaker of the House, KC Becker, said even before the election that she will support legislation to increase local control over the industry. With a Democratic majority in the House and the Senate, we can expect to see new gas and oil legislation introduced in 2019.
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