Our View: Vote ‘yes’ on Propositions CC, DD — Steamboat Today

From the Steamboat Today editorial board:

Coloradoans are being asked to decide two statewide ballot issues this fall, and we encourage voters to approve both measures, which have garnered widespread bipartisan support.

Proposition CC

Proposition CC proposes to eliminate the state’s revenue cap and reallocate that excess revenue to fund transportation and education. It is not a new tax but instead, would allow the state to retain tax revenue rather than refunding it back to taxpayers. The retained revenue would be equally divided and specifically spent on public schools, higher education and transportation projects.

The proposition mandates that the third of the revenue earmarked for transportation be divided between the Colorado Department of Transportation, counties and cities. According to Steamboat Springs City Council member Kathi Meyer, who serves on the executive board of the Colorado Municipal League, which has endorsed Proposition CC, Steamboat and Routt County stand to gain millions of dollars in revenue that can be spent on local roads and bridges during years when there is a Taxpayers Bill of Rights — or TABOR — excess.

In addition to helping to fund Colorado’s crumbling transportation infrastructure, Proposition CC would also boost funding for education, which we think is crucial to the future of our state, which currently ranks in the bottom third of the nation when it comes to per-pupil funding at the K-12 level.

Proposition CC also requires an annual audit of funding, which ensures transparency and allows taxpayers to know exactly how money is being spent.

We realize that Proposition CC is a De-Brucing at the state level, but we believe TABOR needs to be addressed due to the unintended consequences it has had on the state’s ability to fund core services. Proposition CC provides a mechanism to address TABOR’s flaws, and that is one of the reasons why we believe it deserves voter support.

Proposition DD

With broad support from across the state and at the capitol, Proposition DD seems like a no-brainer. The proposition is asking voters to legalize casino sports betting and tax profits to fund the Colorado Water Plan, and we think the measure deserves a resounding “yes” vote.

DD, if approved, will provide a dedicated, predictable revenue stream to help address Colorado’s future water needs. Funding from DD will help keep water in rural Colorado through the support of projects that are prioritized by the state’s various basin roundtables. And with the Yampa River flowing through downtown Steamboat, our communities know first-hand how important water and water quality are to recreation and our local agriculture community.

Sports betting is going to happen whether DD is approved or not, and we believe it’s smart for Colorado to tax it and use that revenue to fund water projects. The proposition also will create a regulated betting market as opposed to the black market, and a small portion of the revenue will be used to support resources to combat gambling addiction — an amount that was established with input from key stakeholders.

Supporters of Proposition DD offer a great analogy for how they believe the proposition will impact Colorado. They think DD will do for water what Great Outdoors Colorado, funded by the Colorado Lottery, did for open space across the state.

DD won’t provide the $20 billion needed to meet all of Colorado’s water demands, but it does create a significant down payment that can be leveraged in a big way.

Ninety percent of the revenue will be placed in a cash fund for Colorado Water Plan implementation. This fund will support the allocation of grants to support projects that focus on water storage, supply, water conservation, land use, agriculture, the environment and recreational uses, which all have the potential to positively affect our local community.

A screenshot from the website for Colorado’s Water Plan.

From Colorado Politics (Joey Bunch):

The group Yes on Proposition DD said the coalition of ag interests in support includes the Colorado Association of Wheat Growers, the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, the Colorado Corn Growers Association, Colorado Dairy Farmers, the Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado Pork Producers and the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union…

“Most farmers and ranchers could care less about sports betting. But this is a smart way to pay for the critical water infrastructure that Colorado’s future needs,” Chad Vorthmann, the executive vice president of the Colorado Farm Bureau, said in a statement.

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