2020 Golden Colorado Voter Recommendation

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“…Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

For more than a decade I have provided a yearly roundup of issues on the ballot at the request of friends and residents subscribed to the Golden Ward 4 Email Newsletter. Recommendations are focused on how I perceive issues as they relate to Golden. 

I also suggest the excellent descriptions and analysis in the Colorado Blue Book mailed to all voters and available online. Unfortunately, this year it weighs in at an amazing 176 grams (more than 6 ounces) and over 100 pages. The front has a decent quick reference guide at only 6 pages in length. 

Overview: “Amendment” vs “Proposition”

  1. Amendment with Letter: impacts state constitution, added to ballot by CO Legislature
  2. Amendment with Number: impacts state constitution, added by citizen signature gathering
  3. Proposition with Double Letter: impacts statutes and/or taxes, added by CO Legislature
  4. Proposition with Number: impacts statutes and/or taxes, added by citizen signature gathering

Without further ado, this year’s recommendations…

Amendment B: Repeals Gallagher Amendment
Recommendation: Vote Yes
With bipartisan legislative support, this benefits local communities and reduces further cuts to education funding and money for first responders such as EMS, doctors and nurses. It will reduce the focus on sales taxes to fund city operations.

Deeply complicated and embedded in Colorado’s continued property tax and education woes (principally related to TABOR), this would freezes some state property tax rates – which might otherwise go down in part because of the pandemic. It also critically supports businesses who have shouldered the property tax burden in the state of Colorado. 

Again, this does not directly address the deeper issue of TABOR, however it begins to add local flexibility (e.g. by the residents of Golden) rather than using a statewide formula for taxes.

Amendment C: Bingo raffles
Recommendation: Vote Neutral
As people know, I do not generally recommend voting in favor of additional gambling or expansion of vices. This feels a bit different, in that it allows non-profits and religious organizations to raise funds through bingo games earlier than they would otherwise (no 5-year waiting period). Golden has organizations that would benefit from this, however this will likely expand an industry around the business of bingo. 

Amendment 76: Reinforces existing requirement that only Citizens can vote
Recommendation: Vote No
Sorry, no two ways about this, it’s pure political theater, propaganda driven by out-of-state interests, and inappropriate manipulation of our amendment process (and affects the state Constitution!). 

Only citizens can vote now. This Amendment implies otherwise, but changes nothing, and is embedded in the State Constitution. The real impact is to keep 17-year olds from voting in a primary if they would turn 18 by the time of the general election. Locally this reduces Goldenites control of who gets to vote. 

Amendment 77: Gaming control of betting limits
Recommendation: Vote No
Casinos are a statewide concern. This gives tiny, mostly casino-controlled towns the ability to change gaming limits for all Coloradans (including Goldenites). As noted above, I do not endorse changes that significantly expand gaming or other vices in exchange for money.



Big Vape: You are on notice. It’s not okay to target our kids.

Proposition EE: Vaping & Nicotine taxes
Recommendation: Vote Hell Yeah!
We are in the middle of a pandemic that causes significant respiratory disease. Colorado teenagers already use nicotine and vape products at TWICE the national average. Sadly, Golden’s children mirror this trend of elevated vape use and addiction.

We know that increasing taxes is the number one proven way to reduce teen use.

It’s shocking to realize that even as Big Vape uses COVID-19 to expand their customer base (not kidding), we have NO TAXES on vape and some other nicotine products(e.g as we do on cigarettes currently). We know price is a significant factor in nicotine use.

Prop EE adds taxes to vaping products and also raises taxes on other nicotine products. The money raised will support pre-schools and K-12 education, as much as $275 Million.

Proposition 113: National Vote
Recommendation: Vote Yes
For Presidential elections, this would grant Colorado’s current Electoral College Votes to whichever candidate wins the popular national election (if enough States agree). This may seem peripheral to Golden, however it impacts the power of each of our votes. There is analysis which suggests voters in Colorado have reduced impact nationally because of the Electoral College. If, as I do, you think the person who receives the most votes should win, then vote yes. 

Proposition 114: Gray wolf reintroduction and management
Recommendation: Neutral
I will vote yes on this, however there’s no clear nexus to the City of Golden to provide a recommendation. More generally, I believe we need to responsibly manage endangered species, and this effort provides an opportunity for Coloradans to do this, while continuing to protect ranchers’ rights and property in the state. 

Proposition 115: Prohibiting Abortion
Recommendation: Vote No
This is a vote of conscience and I appreciate folks will disagree. This particular proposition is even opposed by many religious organizations such as the InterFaith Alliance, and has significant negative impacts on low-income women and communities of color. It creates criminal repercussions for health care workers, and does nothing to address the root causes related to this concern. 

Proposition 116: State Income Tax Rate Reduction
Recommendation: Vote No
This heavily favors the wealthy, and reduces money for education among other important needs. Colorado and Golden schools are already stretched financially. This doesn’t help – which is the point for those who want to further strangle our limited financial resources. Paradoxically, it will create even more “Fees” from the government for everything we do… Fees that disproportionately hurt lower-income people and communities of color. 

Proposition 117: (Sibling to 116), requires voter approval for certain state enterprises
Recommendation: Vote No
TABOR already significantly restricts how Colorado and local governments operate. This doubles down on TABOR and reduces flexibility to manage our state. Here’s an example: the Petroleum Storage Tank Fund is an existing enterprise that places a fee on large polluters to help pay for cleanup of petroleum contaminated sites in Colorado. If Prop 117 passes, any similar needs in the future would have to be funded by money from the state (e.g. residents of Golden) rather than charging fees to the group causing the problem. Seems unfair because it is unfair. 

Proposition 118: Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance
Recommendation: Vote Yes
COVID-19 has exposed gaps in our safety net for many residents (including Goldenites), with even greater impacts for those who are lower-income producing and in communities of color.

Traditionally FMLA has benefited higher income and white-collar workers. This Insurance Pool will help more of our fellow Goldenites take care of an ailing parent or newborn, and supports small businesses while their employee is on leave. Win Win. This isn’t experimental, and is modeled on the many states already providing this benefit.

If you made it through all 11 amendments and propositions, you’re a trooper! One final step: Make a plan to vote. Your vote matters. Talk to your college-aged children. Sit down with your high-school seniors turning 18. Have “the talk” with your parents ;-)You can vote in person, by mail, or dropping your ballot off at a local collection drop box.JeffCo Voting LocationsVisit:Jefferson County Voter information

Find:24-hour secure drop box locations 
Last Minute Voting & Registration: In Colorado, you can both Register to vote and Vote in person through 7pm on Election Day! 
Golden has four drop-off locations this year! Lots of opportunity to be safe and vote as early as possible to ensure your ballot gets counted. I wouldn’t mail in your ballot after about October 26th to ensure it arrives in time.Pro Tip: Voting early slows the stream of phone calls and political mailers. There are many strong feelings, opinions, and beliefs about who we are as a community, and how we navigate what has turned out to be a game-changing year.

I commit to listening and learning, and engaging with you and the Golden community.

Have additional thoughts? Continue sharing them via Feedback and Social Media links below.
 Enjoy the rest of this beautiful Fall weekend!

Bill Fisher, RN
Golden, ColoradoFeedbackEmail bill@williamfisher.com and visit www.WilliamFisher.com for regular updates and to communicate your thoughts, ideas and concerns.Copyright © 2020 Bill Fisher for Golden Ward 4, All rights reserved.

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