No on Prop CC

In the next few days voters across Colorado will begin receiving ballots for the Nov. 5 election.

One of the ballot questions, Proposition CC, asks voters to allow the state to keep and spend all revenues it collects from this time forward.

The Mail recommends a no vote on CC.

Since 1992, state and local government spending has been limited by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

TABOR requires that all spending covered under its provisions be limited to population growth and inflation and that all tax increases must be approved by taxpayers.

Proposition CC would effectively gut TABOR. The only element left would be requiring voter approval of all tax increases.

State officials estimate that in the 2019-20 state budget, Colorado will see some $310 million in revenues beyond that currently allowed under TABOR.

A measure drafted and approved by the state Legislature, Proposition CC would be split with a third going to fund public schools, another third to fund higher education and a third for roads, bridges and other transportation needs.

Under current requirements, the projected $300 million must be refunded to taxpayers for the 2020 tax year, most likely in the form of a reduced income tax rate.

Single filers would see tax reductions of between $26 and $79 in the 2020 tax year and between $30 and $90 for the following year. Those filing joint state returns would see refunds of $52 and $158 in 2020 and $60 and $180 in 2021.

Under Prop CC, there are no guarantees that funds collected will go toward their stated purpose. Funds could be directed elsewhere, without any direct say from voters.

At the same time, while designating funds for purposes outlined under CC, legislators could redirect existing funds wherever they might choose.

Spending under Proposition CC is poorly written. As noted in The Denver Post, funds directed to public schools must be designated with an equal amount going to every student. Thus, districts would receive the same per student allotment regardless of a district’s tax base.

This would benefit wealthy districts like Cherry Creek in Denver with a high district valuation while hurting less affluent areas such as schools in the San Luis Valley.

Proposition CC has no sunset. If it’s approved it means taxpayers have no further say in how tax revenues above current limits are to be spent.

We might view the question in another light if say it had a five-year limit, to allow voters to weigh in on the question periodically.

Vote no on Proposition CC.

Pray for rain, snow

To say the least, it’s disconcerting to see a major wildfire burning just a couple of miles from Salida.

Looking south at Methodist Mountain at night, fires are plainly visible, even through the smoke. Occasionally, the night is lit up by a vertical column of fire as a tree ignites.

Smoke sometimes blankets the mountain, as it did Monday. On Sunday, a west wind blew smoke down the Arkansas River Canyon to Howard and other downriver communities.

With 800-plus firefighters, the Decker Fire is now the U.S. Forest Service’s top wildfire priority.

As the map on page 5 shows, crews have dug both hand and dozer lines south of the east-west power lines, cutting off the fire from the city just to the north. Hand crews have dug lines literally right on top of the fire’s north edge on Methodist.

The NWS forecast calls for sunny weather today with a Fire Weather Warning for Wednesday afternoon. Rain, snow and cold are possible Wednesday evening and Thursday through Friday.

Pray for rain; pray for snow!

— MJB