Cathy’s 2022 Ballot Guide

City of Fort Collins Ballot Measures

Back by popular demand, this is my personal ballot guide for the 2022 election. This is just my personal take on the ballot issues we’re voting on this election. I include why I’ve taken each position so you can decide whether you agree with me or not. I also try to include additional resources in case you want to take a deeper dive as well. However you vote, the most important thing is that you vote. Thank you!

Ranked Choice Voting in Municipal Elections – SUPPORT

When we elect our city leaders, they should have the support of a majority of voters. The current system allows for a candidate to get elected without majority support. As an example, if several candidates are vying for one position, if the candidate with the most votes gets only 30% of the votes, they still win.

Ranked Choice Voting will allow for an instant runoff mechanism. Voters will choose their 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. choices on the ballot. When the ballots are counted, if no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the bottom candidate is dropped, and their 2nd choice votes are added to the totals of the other candidates. This process continues until a candidate has a majority.

Municipal Elections in November (instead of April) – SUPPORT

Aligning the city elections with the school board elections (which are held in November in odd numbered years):

  • Lowers election costs
  • Is less-confusing to voters, and
  • Ensures greater participation in these elections

Pay for City Council – SUPPORT

Currently, Council members make $10,712 annually and the Mayor makes $16,074 annually. Council members work approximately 20 to 30 hours per week and the Mayor works approximately 50 to 60 hours per week. Council members do not receive benefits. The last time Council member pay was adjusted was 1998. Increasing pay for the CIty Council positions opens up the position to more people and not just people who can afford to take the low salary for City Council members.

If passed, starting on January 1, 2023, City Council members would have the option to participate in the City’s health benefits plan and their compensation would be:

  • Mayor: $56,400 annually (75% of area median income)
  • Mayor Pro Tem: $45,120 annually (60% of area median income)
  • All other Council members: $37,600 annually (50% of area median income)

State of Colorado Ballot Measures

Amendment D; New 23rd Judicial District Judges – SUPPORT

Because the 18th Judicial District has grown so much, Colorado is dividing it, and creating a new 23rd Judicial District. Amendment D clarifies that the current sitting judges from the 18th district can be reassigned to the 23rd district.

Amendment E: Extend Homestead Exemption to Gold Star Spouses – SUPPORT

100% DIsabled veterans are currently eligible to receive a limited property tax reduction on their primary residence  This amendment will expand this exemption to include surviving spouses of either a military service member who died in the line of duty or a veteran whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.

One of my constituents, a 100% disabled veteran himself, said this to me: “My wife receives the benefit of the disabled veterans homestead exemption because I survived. If I had been killed she would not receive this benefit. How is it okay that we deprive this benefit to those who have sacrificed so much?” Good question. Let’s fix this.

Amendment F: Changes to Charitable Gaming Operations – LEAN OPPOSE

Honestly, I’m conflicted on  this measure. Many people suffer from gambling addictions and I don’t want to add to the problem. Charitable gaming, however, does support many non-profit organizations. This measure is likely to lead to the expansion of charitable gaming in Colorado and will make it easier for charitable organizations to run their games. My question is, are we benefiting non-profits at the expense of people who suffer from gambling addictions?

In 2020, 52.4% of Colorado voters voted in favor of Amendment C, which is substantially the same as Amendment F this year. It did not pass, however, because a threshold of 55% is required to add new language to the Colorado Constitution. Given that I don’t believe this type of issue should even be in the Colorado Constitution, I did vote to refer this amendment to the ballot so voters have another opportunity to decide.

Here is a list of non-profit organizations in Colorado which currently use charitable gaming to raise funds.

Proposition 121: State Income Tax Rate Reduction – OPPOSE

Permanently reducing Colorado’s State Income Tax Rate is a short-sighted response to temporary economic conditions. Colorado’s budget is already very limited. We fail to adequately fund our schools, our teachers are poorly paid, we aren’t keeping up with maintenance of our roads or maintenance of our state owned buildings, and we are required to pass a balanced budget every year. Cuts to the state budget would inevitably be required if proposition 121 passed and would make the current lack of funding for these and other essential state services worse.

Proposition 122: Access to Natural Psychedelic Substances – LEAN OPPOSE

Proposition 122 would classify certain psychedelic substances as a natural medicine and would also decriminalize the use, possession, growth, and transport of these substances.

While we know that criminalizing drugs has negative impacts on society, classifying them as a natural medicine should require extensive research and proof of the benefits of clinical application. Psychedelic substances like psilocybin show promising potential as medical treatments for conditions like depression and anxiety. While the preliminary findings of the studies are encouraging, more information is needed to conclusively prove the benefits of psychedelic substances. The Food and Drug Administration recently designated psilocybin a “breakthrough therapy” but has not broadly approved its use. Earlier this year, the American Psychiatric Association stated that there is “currently inadequate scientific evidence for endorsing the use of psychedelics to treat any psychiatric disorder” outside of approved studies.

Proposition 123: Dedicate Revenue for Affordable Housing Programs – SUPPORT

Lack of affordable housing and homelessness are currently huge issues throughout Colorado. Proposition 123 would set aside up to 0.1% of taxable income every year for new affordable housing programs and exempts this money from the state revenue limit.

Although Proposition 123 has no end date, because this measure is statutory the legislature can adjust this measure in future years. This might be appropriate if Colorado catches up with our affordable housing supply or if we no longer have  money above the revenue limit to devote to affordable housing. Given the current state budget situation and the urgency of the housing crisis in Colorado, I am hopeful the voters will approve this measure.

Proposition 124: Increase Allowable Liquor Store Locations – OPPOSE

Proposition 124 is likely to change Colorado from an independent market with mostly independent local liquor stores, to a chain store market with mostly out-of-state corporate liquor stores. Independent local liquor stores will have trouble competing with these large chains.

This is likely to harm our craft breweries, local wine makers, and other local producers of alcoholic beverages because corporate chains are less likely to give shelf space to locally made products.

Follow the money: The money behind putting propositions 124, 125, and 126  onto the ballot comes overwhelmingly from large out-of-state sources.

Proposition 125: Allow Grocery and Convenience Stores to Sell Wine – OPPOSE

Proposition 125 would automatically expand all existing beer sale licenses to also allow the sale of wine and vinous liquor, more than doubling the number of outlets where such alcohol is sold. There would be no government review and no local or neighborhood input, despite these locations proximity to schools, churches and other alcohol outlets.

This expansion is likely to harm or drive out business independent local wine stores and limit consumer selection.

Follow the money: The money behind putting propositions 124, 125, and 126  onto the ballot comes overwhelmingly from large out-of-state sources.

Proposition 126: Third-Party Delivery of Alcohol Beverages – LEAN OPPOSE

While restaurant owners say the proposition would help keep their doors open, liquor store owners claim it would put them out of business. This policy did help restaurants keep their doors open during the pandemic and under current law this will remain legal until July of 2025. I don’t think this measure really needs to be on the ballot since the legislature can always decide to renew the current law before it expires in 2025 after seeing how it plays out.

While I am concerned about the out of state money funding this measure, I think the opposition claims about safety or putting local liquor stores out of business are overblown.

From the non-partisan analysis in the Blue Book:

The measure outlines requirements for third-party alcohol delivery companies, including the requirement that companies obtain a delivery permit, follow various safety provisions, and submit proof of liability insurance. All individuals who deliver alcohol through a third-party delivery company are required to be 21 years of age or older, complete a certification program, verify the recipient’s legal age at the time of delivery, and refuse delivery to anyone who fails to provide proof of age or appears intoxicated. The measure also makes third-party delivery companies and workers liable for alcohol delivery violations and removes retail liquor licensees’ liability once alcohol is transferred to the third-party. 

Follow the money: The money behind putting propositions 124, 125, and 126  onto the ballot comes overwhelmingly from large out-of-state sources.

Proposition FF: Healthy School Meals for All – SUPPORT

This measure will make free school meals available to all students in Colorado Public Schools. During the pandemic, temporary Federal pandemic aid made all school meals free to all students. As a result, school districts found 20-40% more students participated in school meal programs. The income levels to qualify for free school meals are very low and not all parents who qualify are comfortable filling out the necessary forms for their children to receive free school meals. As an example, a family of 3 making more than $29,939 per year is considered “too rich” to qualify for free school meals. Estimates are that over 60,000 Colorado students can’t afford school meals and don’t qualify for free for reduced-price school meals.

This measure also supports farmers and ranchers since schools can be reimbursed for purchasing locally sourced food.

Proposition is paid for by limiting state income tax deductions for those who make $300,000 per year or more – the top 5% of income earners in Colorado.

For more information, check out:

Proposition GG: Add Tax Information to Petitions and Ballots – SUPPORT

This measure will add transparency to petitions and ballots. Language in the Colorado Constitution requires very specific ballot language for tax measures. Out of context, the required ballot wording can be misleading. Providing context will likely affect the passage or non-passage of tax related ballot measures. It is important for voters to understand how tax measures will impact both themselves and other taxpayers. This measure will add the information necessary to allow voters to make better informed decisions.

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