EDITOR: It wasn’t all blue for Colorado voters this election. Despite electing Democrats in state-wide races, voters chose Republican fiscal policies on two key ballot initiatives, providing important glimmers of Red for our state.
The Democratic platform pushes for higher taxes to fuel larger government bureaucracy, so we’d expect Coloradans to embrace this key component of the party they voted for, right? In reality, despite multi-million-dollar campaigns to dissuade them, Coloradans voted for lower taxes (Proposition 116) and for more voter oversight on government proposed fees (Proposition 117).
Coloradans jumped at the chance to lower their state income taxes via Prop. 116. This initiative benefited from being straight-forwardly worded and concise. Prop. 117’s question also came through clearly: should voters have a say before government imposes large new fees (ie, taxes)? We gave a resounding “Yes!”.
Interestingly, Coloradans voted for tax increases on several other ballot initiatives. Passing the Paid Family and Medical Leave program will raise taxes by at least $1.2 billion within three years. Repealing the Gallagher Amendment will now open the door to significant home property tax increases. Whether intentional or not, neither ballot initiative’s wording made these tax increases clear.
Why voters’ conflicting approach here? When the initiatives were presented in a straight-forward manner clearly explaining the tax implications—Coloradans chose conservative and libertarian policy. When the initiatives weren’t transparent about the tax implications and didn’t clarify the cost/benefit trade-offs—Coloradans voted to raise their taxes.
So take heart, all you who want a return to Purple for our state! When transparently-worded tax policy questions were on the ballot, Coloradans showed their fiscal backbone and voted to lower their taxes and limit government power; embracing choice over control.
— Will Johnson, via [email protected]