2010 Colorado elections: Amendment 61 limits on government borrowing

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Here’s a report on the Legislative Council’s analysis of Amendment 61 from Patrick Malone writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

If the amendment passes in November, projects that traditionally have been financed through borrowing would have to be paid for by hikes in fees or funds earmarked for other purposes, according to an analysis by the Legislative Council…

As for negatives, the Legislative Council said important public services could be strangled without borrowed funds. During the past decade, Colorado’s population has grown by 20 percent, increasing demand for services that rely on borrowing to be offered realistically, it said. Private businesses also could suffer if government contracts for projects financed by borrowing disappear, the analysis said…

Unlike the state, which under Amendment 61 would be prohibited from borrowing, local governments could ask voters to approve indebtedness, with certain restrictions. For instance, a local government would be allowed to borrow only the equivalent of 10 percent of the assessed property value within its borders. Those currently with debt of that amount or more would have to pay down their debts before taking on new ones. Local governments typically borrow to construct or improve schools, roads, public buildings (such as jails and recreation centers), mass transit, water and wastewater treatment plants and to buy vehicles, including firefighting and police equipment. The amendment also would require local governments to repay loans within 10 years — rather than the current standard of 20- or 30-year loans — to keep down interest costs. Furthermore, it would require taxes to be lowered when government completes repayment of a loan, even if tax dollars weren’t used to retire the debt.

Here’s a long analysis of Proposition 101 and Amendments 60 and 61 from Pat Ferrier writing for the Fort Collins Coloradoan: Click through an read the whole thing. Here’s an excerpt:

Opponents, including many local business owners, say the measures threaten jobs and could result in a voter-approved recession exacerbating an already slow economic recovery. Coloradans for Responsible Reform, or CFRR, estimates more than 73,000 jobs – 38,000 from the private sector, 35,000 from public sector – and billions of dollars in infrastructure projects would be lost, creat-ing an anti-business reputation in Colorado that would detract from future growth. [Elaine Lauffer] said the amendments could cripple her family-owned business that relies on public-sector construction jobs.

Here’s a video about Proposition 101, Amendment 61 and Amendment 60 from the Bell Policy Center, The Bad 3.

More 2010 Colorado elections coverage here.

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