Cathy’s 2023 Ballot Guide

Welcome to Cathy’s 2023 Ballot Guide. Below are my recommendations for local (Fort Collins) and state issues on the ballot this November. I am also sharing my endorsements for all the great candidates who have stepped up to serve us on the Fort Collins City Council and on the Poudre and Thompson School Boards. If you have questions, please feel free to email me at or call or text me at 970-219-5267. I’m always happy to share my thoughts.

Statewide Ballot Issues

Both of these ballot issues were referred to the ballot by the Colorado legislature. I voted to refer both ballot measures to the voters and hope that you are willing to support them. Here is the electronic link to the 2023 Blue Book in English, Spanish, and an audio version.

  • Proposition HH – YES

Proposition HH is complicated, primarily because Colorado has tax policy written into our state Constitution. If HH passes, it will have a positive impact for Coloradans. Here are a few of the things it will do:

  • Reduce the tax increases residential property owners would otherwise see in their property tax bills by about half.
  • Allow seniors to move without losing their senior property tax exemption, and increase the value of this exemption.
  • Provide commercial (non-residential) property tax relief. Gallagher (the now repealed amendment) has unfairly burdened these property owners for many years.
  • Create a fund to help renters stay in their homes.
  • Cap future property tax growth to inflation, but allow for a public process to override this cap if needed.
  • Protect public school funding.
  • Backfills lost funding for fire districts and emergency services. Counties and other districts are also eligible for some backfill dollars until their revenues grow by more than 20% from property taxes.
  • The above items are paid for by increasing the TABOR cap by 1% a year for the next 10 years. While some argue these changes can be made by the legislature, Colorado is required to have a balanced budget, so these items cannot pass in isolation. The way we pay for them must be approved by the voters.

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  • Proposition II – YES

Proposition II (Aye Aye) is essentially a followup to Proposition EE which voters passed in 2020. Proposition EE increased nicotine and vape taxes to fund Universal Preschool (UPK) in Colorado. Because of TABOR (the aforementioned tax policy in Colorado’s Constitution), we need permission from the voters to allow the state to keep all of the tax money collected for UPK.

Colorado’s new Universal Preschool Program, funded by EE, has allowed tens of thousands of young children across Colorado to attend preschool for the first time this year, saving young families thousands of dollars in the process. Colorado has one of the highest uptake rates in the nation for the first year of a fully mixed-delivery UPK program with more than 36,000 children matched to providers. 

If Proposition II passes, thousands more children will have improved access to preschool, especially children that need it the most, including families living in poverty, students with special needs, children in families experiencing homelessness, students learning English, and kids in foster care.

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City of Fort Collins Ballot Issues

These measures were all referred to the ballot by the Fort Collins Mayor and City Council.

  • City of Fort Collins Ballot Issue 2A – City-Initiated Ballot Issue No.1 – YES

This measure would increase the city Sales and Use Tax by 0.5% (or 50 cents for every $100 spent on non-essential items). Money will be spent to reduce climate change, increase public transit, and support parks and recreation in Fort Collins. I am supporting this because we need to continue work at the local level to meet our climate goals, public transit is important to our community – and free transit encourages its use, and we need to maintain and improve our existing parks and recreation infrastructure.

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  • City of Fort Collins Ballot Issue 2B – City-Initiated Ballot Issue No.2 – YES

This measure would raise the mill levy 3 mils beginning in 2025 and use the resulting revenue to work on affordable housing in Fort Collins. Three mils in Fort Collins comes to just about $20 for every $100,000 in property value under current property tax rates. I believe that this funding is a good investment in keeping property values (and therefore property taxes) from increasing further in Fort Collins. Fort Collins is in a housing crisis and this is an incredibly important issue for us to tackle.

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  • City of Fort Collins Ballot Issue 2C – City-Initiated Proposed Charter Amendment No.1 – Yes

This measure will bring the city charter into alignment with the state Constitution regarding qualifications to run for office.

  • City of Fort Collins Ballot Issue 2D – City-Initiated Proposed Charter Amendment No.2 – Yes

Clarifies the city charter as it pertains to referendum petitions.

  • City of Fort Collins Ballot Issue 2E – City-Initiated Proposed Charter Amendment No.3 – Yes

Removes residency requirements for some city employees from the city charter and allows the city council to set these parameters instead.

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Fort Collins Mayor and City Council Endorsements

I served with Jeni in the state House and have worked with her as she has served as our Mayor. Jeni works tirelessly on behalf of all the people in Fort Collins – and cares deeply about our community. She is unafraid to do what is right and will always tell you the truth.

Additional Resource: Coloradoan Q&A with Mayor Jeni Arndt

Julie is an advocate of affordable housing and has a vision for accountable government. She is committed to protecting our environment, our city and our values of diversity and inclusion. Julie is a working mom dedicated to making Fort Collins a place for all families. Julie has proved that she is a strong leader who won’t be pushed around by special interests.
Note: Candidate Sean McCoy has withdrawn his candidacy and endorsed Julie Pignataro, although Seans’s  name will still appear on the ballot.

Additional Resource: Coloradoan Q&A with Julie Pignataro

Melanie is a mom, teacher, and mental health professional, whom I have known for many years because she has always been actively involved in our community and working on behalf of others. I believe Melanie will best represent the values of the people who live in her district and I know they won’t be disappointed in the strong leadership she will bring to the city council.

Additional Resource: Coloradoan Q&A with Melanie Potyondy

Emily has always worked hard, both in her day job and as a city council member, to support the most vulnerable members of our community. She has worked to increase housing affordability, improve our environment and reduce climate causing pollution, make public transit usable and free, and more. As Mayor ProTem, Emily is a strong and positive voice we need to keep on our city council.

Additional Resource: Coloradoan Q&A with Emily Francis

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School Board Endorsements

My school board candidate endorsements are for the candidates who I believe have the best interests of ALL of our students as their top priority. The candidates I have endorsed do NOT believe in banning books, DO believe in teaching facts and science, want to ensure students at school have the support they need to be successful, and that all students are recognized, respected and valued for who they are.

While candidates have to live in a specific area of their school district to run, you can vote for candidates in ALL of the districts within your school district.

  • Poudre School Board Endorsements (also endorsed by the Poudre Education Association)

Additional Resource: Coloradoan Q&A with Kevin Havelda

Additional Resource: Coloradoan Q&A with Conor Duffy

Additional Resource: Coloradoan Q&A with Jessica Zamora

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