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As Election Day draws near, concerns over the effects of proposed ballot initiatives concern CU administration.
On Nov. 2, the 2010 Primary and General Elections will be held statewide in Colorado. Among the proposed ballot initiatives, two amendments and one proposition have been worrying the University of Colorado and higher education in Colorado.
The ballot measures in question are amendments 60 and 61 and proposition 101, with each prompting CU officials to voice their arguments of opposition.
According to the Colorado State Ballot Information Booklet, amendment 60 is a constitutional amendment that will decrease and limit property tax on homeowners and businesses.
Property taxes are the taxes individuals and businesses pay to fund school districts, counties, special districts, cities and towns.
With a decrease in property taxes, these entities will see a decrease in their funding, prompting many in the education world to worry of the future of K-12 and higher education.
In July 2010, CU president Bruce Benson ordered an internal analysis of the potential repercussions that these three measures may have, with the Board of Regents voting for opposition, with the loss of more funding a primary issue.
Associate Vice President Ken McConnellogue echoed the sentiments of CU officials.
“Everyone at CU is concerned,” McConnellogue said. “We already face declines in state funding, and our assessment is that these measures would further decline the amount of state funding, making it harder to keep the doors open.”
According to the July 2010 resolution document by the CU Board of Regents “all three measures would place the university at a dramatic disadvantage compared to universities in other states when competing for students, faculty and research.”
Colorado is currently ranked 48th in the nation for state funding for resident students, McConnellogue said.
Amendment 61 proposes to prohibit all state borrowing after 2010 and prohibits new local governments from borrowing money after 2010 unless voter approved, according to the Colorado State Ballot Information Booklet.
Proposition 101 aims to reduce the income tax from 4.63 percent to 4.5 percent in 2011 and to 3.5 percent gradually over time, according to the booklet.
Prop 101 will also reduce or eliminate taxes on vehicle purchases, registration and rentals over the next four years and eliminate all state and local fees and taxes regarding telecommunications (except 911) and require voter approval to increase taxes on vehicle and telecommunication services in the future.
All three ballot measures, if passed, will reduce the taxes paid by individuals and businesses, and in turn reduce the funding of government-aided services such as education, safety and transportation.
Proponents of the measures argue that they will force the government to run more resourcefully and inhibit reckless spending.
According to a Sept. 25 newsletter from the board of directors at the Colorado Union of Taxpayers, they are urging Coloradans to choose in favor of the measures, stating that it will help stimulate the state’s economy.
“Yes, these three issues are a direct reaction to poor treatment of taxpayers,” the newsletter reads. “This reaction is fully justified and will ultimately help create many new jobs in Colorado, while preserving local governments’ ability to provide police and fire protection and to educate our children.”
The CUT newsletter also states that with individuals and businesses paying fewer taxes, more money will be in the hands of people, giving them more to spend and thus stimulating the economy.
When asked if they will be voting this Election Day, many students at the University of Colorado said that they were not, and those that would vote expressed that they were unfamiliar with the proposed measures.
Danny Rehn, a 21-year-old physics major, said the reason why he would not be voting this year is because he would rather not vote than vote without having an understanding of the measures.
“I’m not voting because I’m not informed enough on the issues,” Rehn said.
For more information on the amendments or the upcoming elections, visit this website.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Joe Kovack at Joseph.firstname.lastname@example.org.