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Voting in Colorado and the US in 2020

2020 has been a wild year with just the COVID-19 pandemic. To up the ante the US is also having a Presidential election this year. Since I live in the state of Colorado there are a lot of things to vote on here as well. I needed to spend some time researching the ballot initiatives and decided to write something up about my though process. Here we go:

US President

Biden/Harris – I think this tweet sums up the race for me:

US Senate

John Hickenlooper – He is a Democrat so there is a 70% chance that we align on most things. He isn’t perfect but he is a closer representative to what I want to see done in the US and Colorado. The pandemic has caused as close to a black and white rift in the US’ government as I have ever seen. On the Democrat side it is based on science and reason. On the Republican side it is business as usual. A pandemic is anything but business as usual. In Colorado we have done a much better job than most of the country dealing with this but we are not done yet. Hopefully having reasoned leadership will help.

US Congress

I live in Colorado’s 3rd district so that is the representative that I get to vote on for the US Congress. This year we have Diane Mitsch Bush vs Lauren Boebert and it is turning into a bit of a race. The 3rd district is traditionally a Republican stronghold as it is mainly rural. However 2020 is not a traditional year and Bush could upset the controversial Boebert.

I will be voting for Bush as she is a Democrat and again aligns with my views on things like universal healthcare, pandemic response, taxing the rich, and not owning a restaurant where employees open carry firearms.

Montezuma County Commissioner

Samulski – This is the county that I live in and we need all the help we can get. Traditionally we are a farming community but as drought increases it is going to be important that we expand our horizons. I have been working on the Samulski campaign to get her website running.

Amendment B: An effort to repeal Gallagher Amendment governing property taxes

This is a complicated one. The Gallagher Amendment was created in 1982 to deal with the rising costs of living in Colorado. It fixed the total residential property tax revenue at 45% with the remainder made up by business property taxes. Since it was passed it is estimated to have saved residential property owners $35 billion, that is a b.

The problem is that it ties county and city government hands in how they handle property taxes. In smaller rural areas the amendment has been a problem because the larger richer counties determine the tax rates. I am conflicted on how to vote for this.

Colorado has an interesting history when it comes to taxes. In 1992 we passed the Tax Payers Bill of Rights TABOR, which forces any tax changes at the state or city level to be put to a vote of the people. This has kept Colorado taxes low which is seen as helping growth and limiting government. It also means that a lot of government services are underfunded like schools and road repair.

The Gallagher Amendment and TABOR seem to be at total odds with each other even though both limit how the government can rule. However we are in a different time in 2020 and it seems like we need to make a change here and repeal the Amendment. I will vote to repeal.

Amendment C: Expands ability of nonprofits to conduct bingo and raffles as fundraisers

Ah the expansion of gambling in Colorado. I remember when they first allowed gambling to start happening again in a few select towns in the 90’s. Personally I have no interest in gambling. I work too hard to make money and just giving it away seems like a silly thing to do.

Now gambling is seen as a good way to raise money for nonprofits. How messed up a situation are we in that we have to run gambling enterprises to raise money for nonprofits that help children? Rather than raise taxes on everyone we take advantage of people with an addiction to pay for their children’s health.

I want to vote against this on principle, but until we actually raise taxes to eliminate he need for nonprofits this is going to be helpful. Do you think Gamblers Anonymous will hold a raffle?

Amendment 76: Citizenship question to vote cuts would-be 18-year-olds out of the process

Sounds like voter suppression so I will vote against this.

Amendment 77: Allow gambling towns to increase or remove bet limits on casino games

Sure, maybe it will help raise tax revenue to fund more Gamblers Anonymous. Again, until we raise taxes creating more tax revenue via gambling is a necessary evil.

Proposition EE: Increase tobacco taxes and add new nicotine tax to ease state budget pain and pay for preschool

Smoking it a terrible habit and people should stop. Raising taxes on tobacco has worked before and will keep working. Also we need more tax revenue.

Proposition 113: Whether to join the national popular vote compact instead of current Electoral College system

This is an interesting effort to alter how the US general election for president works. It will require a lot of other states to join in the effort but it might work. I will vote yes for it.

Proposition 114: Colorado voters will decide on reintroducing an endangered species, wolves

I will vote yes on this.

Proposition 115: Prohibit abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy unless life of woman is threatened

How are conservatives all for small government but then for some of the most restrictive laws? For me this argument is simple: Does a woman have full control of her own body? My answer is yes.

I will vote no on this.

Proposition 116: A income tax cut for individuals and corporations, but less money for state

I will vote no on this. We do not need to cut any taxes at this time.

Proposition 117: Put limits on fees created by the Colorado legislature for state enterprises

Since Colorado has TABOR the state has had to get creative on how it funds different state enterprises. This is done with fees. Now we want to limit the fees. 🙈

I will vote no.

Proposition 118: Create a new state program and fees to provide paid family and medical leave to workers

Yes

That wraps up the 2020 US and Colorado elections. Thanks for playing along.

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