More election endorsements
October 10, 2006
The Aspen Times’ election endorsements continue today with our suggestions on amendments and referendums on the statewide ballot. We will continue sharing our thoughts about the races and questions on the ballot every Wednesday and Friday up to election day.Amendment 44The war on drugs is a failure and a waste of public resources. This amendment to state statutes would free law enforcement from chasing petty offenders who possess an ounce of marijuana or less. The growth, sale and public use or display of pot would remain a crime, as would driving under the influence.We are troubled by a provision of Amendment 44 that appears to allow adults to share their pot with children as young as 15. Opponents have pounced on this provision and claim that 44 will hurt children. Proponents argue that such behavior would still constitute contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Since this amendment would only affect state statute, and not the Constitution, we hope the Legislature will clear up this portion.The bottom line is that cops have more important things to do than to bust adults for marijuana possession. Vote Yes on Amendment 44.Referendum EThis referendum has enormous appeal, especially in a time of war. It would grant disabled veterans the same exemption from property taxes currently given to senior citizens. The exemption would be granted to vets who have been certified as 100 percent disabled by the federal government.Certainly these vets deserve our support, but so do many other citizens. What about the disabled vets who aren’t homeowners? Or those who were disabled from birth? A constitutional amendment requiring the state (which already has huge fiscal problems) to reimburse local governments for lost property tax revenue is a strange way to support a narrow group of citizens. This gesture would cost the state about $1 million per year.Vote No on Referendum E.Referendum FThis is a confusing measure with a fairly limited effect. It purports to change deadlines and requirements for petitions to recall elected officials. Critics say it will give state elected officials more power to protect themselves from being recalled, but we buy the argument that those who verify petitions and run elections need more time to do their jobs, owing to Colorado’s dramatic population growth.Vote Yes on Referendum F.Referendum GThis is a housekeeping measure that would remove obsolete provisions from the state Constitution. Given the number of amendments that Coloradans continue to add to their Constitution, it’s smart to eliminate a few.Vote Yes on Referendum G.Referendum HThis would prohibit Colorado businesses from claiming tax deductions for wages paid to unauthorized aliens. We agree that businesses should not be allowed to deduct these costs from their tax bills.Vote Yes on Referendum H.Referendum JYes, this referendum is more reasonable and less draconian than Amendment 39, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. Mandating that school districts spend 65 percent of their budgets in certain ways, given the already confusing and conflicting plethora of state mandates, will not help schools solve their funding problems.Vote No on Referendum JReferendum KIt’s a bad idea for the state of Colorado to sue the federal government over the enforcement of immigration laws. It won’t fundamentally change this difficult and complicated situation, and it’s a waste of state and federal tax dollars.Vote No on Referendum K.