Colorado Propositions 109 and 110: I'm giving you the side-eye

Monday, October 22, 2018

Colorado Propositions 109 and 110 are entitled "Authorize Bonds for Highway Projects," and "Authorize Sales Tax and Bonds for Transportation Projects," respectively.

These are Amendments to the Colorado Constitution, and according to the Secretary of State's office, both Propositions were placed on the Ballot by citizen petition.

The gist of both Amendments is to address how to pay for highway and transportation needs in Colorado.

The following groups are in favor of Amendment 109:
  •  Fix Our Damn Roads (Their link keeps timing out, but TRACER reports their contributions are coming from Libertarian organizations)
  •  No On 110. Yes on 109 (I can't find a link to this organization, and TRACER reports they're delinquent in filing their required donation and expenditure report.)
The following groups are opposed to Amendment 109:
  • State Ballot Issue Committee (This appears to be a small anti-tax organization out of Colorado Springs. TRACER reports they're against everything but Amendment A and Amendment 74)
  • Coloradans For Coloradans (I can't find a link to this organization, but in the past, it appears the majority of their contributions have come from sources outside of Colorado. Additionally, TRACER reports contributors are companies and associations associated with the building industry.)
  • Win the Fourth Colorado Issue Committee
  • Coloradans for a Responsible Future (I can't find a link to this organization, but according to TRACER, their contributors are companies and associations associated with the building industry.)
The following groups are in favor of Amendment 110:
  • Coloradans For Coloradans (I can't find a link to this organization, but in the past, it appears the majority of their contributions have come from sources outside of Colorado. Additionally, TRACER reports contributors are companies and associations associated with the building industry.)
  • Coloradans for a Responsible Future (I can't find a link to this organization, but according to TRACER, their contributors are companies and associations associated with the building industry.)
The following groups are opposed to Amendment 110:
  • State Ballot Issue Committee (This appears to be a small anti-tax (libertarian?) organization out of Colorado Springs. TRACER reports they're against everything but Amendment A and Amendment 74)
  • No On 110. Yes on 109 (I can't find a link to this organization, and TRACER reports they're delinquent in filing their required donation and expenditure report.)
Here's the gist:

If Amendment 109 passes, the state could borrow $3.5 billion by selling transportation revenue bonds for highway projects. These would be repaid within 20 years, using existing state revenue sources.

If Amendment 110 passes, state officials would increase Colorado’s sales and use tax from 2.9 percent to 3.52 percent for 20 years in order to borrow up to $6 billion.

So the long and the short of it is:
  • If you want to fund transportation initiatives by borrowing money against bonds, vote "yes" on 109, and "no" on 110.
  • If you want to fund transportation initiatives by increasing the sales tax, vote "no" on 109, and "yes" on 110.
  • If you want a third solution, or you don't want any additional monies to be earmarked for transportation projects, vote "no" on 109, and "no" on 110.
  • If you want both solutions to be enacted, vote "yes" on 109, and "yes" on 110. 
Here are the points I considered when making my decision:
  • Proposition 109 borrows money; 110 raises taxes to obtain the money. 
  • The tax increase in Proposition 110 is a sales tax, which disproportionately affects the poor. 
  • Proposition 110 is using money for multi-modal (bicycles and mass transit) transportation, 109 is not. 
  • Proposition 109 money is designated to 66 specific highway projects, 110 is not.
Following the money was tougher on this one. I had to research each agent in Tracer and then look up the committee's contribution and expenditure reports. The fact that the committees apparently took pains to hide their involvement (except where forced into transparency by Colorado SoS rules) makes me side-eye the lot of them.
     
     

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