John Colson: A few more of my thoughts on 2018 state election questions
October 22, 2018
Two weeks to go until the 2018 midterm elections are concluded, and we all see whether we will blindly follow Donald the Mad Piper into a future ruled exclusively by hate and greed, or not.
Of course, the "not" in that equation would mean that the Democrats have wrested control of the House of Representatives from Republican clutches, at least (taking back the Senate seems increasingly doubtful, given voter suppression techniques by the GOP).
And even if the Dems do take over the House, that is no guarantee of a future filled with love and light, but it would be a definite improvement.
Locally, we Colorado voters have a ballot that is a tome of massive complexity and even some cases of deception by those proposing certain questions (more on that in a moment), and I have to point out that a veteran political junkie recently revealed that it took her two hours of intensive research to fill in her ballot.
Anyways, I haven't the space or the time to deal with everything on the ballot this year, but I would like to offer my thinking on some of the amendments to the state Constitution and other propositions. I won't be offended if you simply ignore me and vote according to your conscience, pocketbook or politics.
Amendments X, Y and Z — YES on all three.
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The first, Amendment X, would ensure that laws governing industrial hemp (the non-psychoactive cousin of pot) can be changed by statute rather than by further amendments to the state Constitution, a necessary move if industrial hemp is ever to become a cash crop for Colorado farmers.
The second and third, Amendments Y & Z, would create an independent body to reset the state's legislative boundaries every 10 years, as required by law. By taking the politics out of redistricting, it would be a good start toward ending the despicable practice known as "gerrymandering," and it also would be a good first step toward eliminating the outmoded and anti-democratic Electoral College that has so far given us two presidents who failed to win the popular vote in their elections. All three of these items seem to be things that actually should be placed into the Constitution.
Amendment 73 — NO
This one would change our taxation laws, swapping our state's flat income tax for a "progressive" taxing structure, theoretically boosting the state's revenue for schools and other needs. But as with other highly detailed proposed amendments, I worry that this one will have unintended and unwanted consequences that cannot be undone without yet another constitutional amendment.
Amendment 74 — NO
I've addressed this previously, but feel constrained to bring it up again — this is nothing but a deceptive effort by the state's oil and gas industry to throw a monkey wrench into the state's ability to place restrictions on the industry by threatening a nonstop legal war. It is so broad that porn shops could sue if they are kept out of a school's neighborhood, developers could sue to overturn legitimate county zoning decisions, and mining interests could sue any time a local government decides a proposed mine is a bad idea for any number of reasons. There already are property-rights protections in our state laws — this one is not only superfluous, but it is wickedly nefarious in its true intent to cripple government.
Amendment 75 — NO
Here we have another bit of subterfuge, this time reportedly by Trump supporters in the state. It would enshrine in our Constitution a rule that any time a wealthy political candidate spends more than $1 million of his or her own money in a campaign, opponents could than accept five times more money that is normally allowed. It would guarantee that our politics would be for the wealthy only, and the rest of us need not bother ever trying to run, and perhaps not even bother voting.
Proposition 109 — NO
Yet another bit of political sleight-of-hand, this one purporting to raise money for roads by forcing legislators to cut funding for just about everything else, since it does not propose any way of paying for the proposed $3.5 billion in road improvements. Really, this is meant only to confuse voters about another ballot question addressing similar problems (Proposition 110, see below).
Proposition 110 — YES
Authorizes the state to spend $6 billion in bonded indebtedness on "transportation" projects, including state roads, local priorities and mass transit. It would raise the state sales tax to provide funds to repay the bonds. And because it is a legislative proposition, it can be rearranged if better funding options come along during the estimated 20-year life of the tax hike.
There you have it, folks, to do with as you like.
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