AnneLandmanBlog Voter Guide for ballot measures for Nov. 2, 2021 election

Are you wondering how to vote in the Mesa County Coordinated Election on Tuesday, November 2, 2021? Are you sweating about where you’re going to find the time to research all the state and local ballot measures?

Relax.

I’ve done the work for you.

AnneLandmanBlog has read and researched the ballot measures, looked into who is behind getting them on the ballot, who backs them, who supports them, what their motives are and what each measure would change.

The state ballot measures are fairly complicated this election, but I did my best to distill them down to their essence to save readers time.

Based on what I found, here are my summaries and recommended votes:

Amendment 78 – A constitutional amendment that needs 55% of the vote to pass: NO:

Amendment 78 would change how all money the state receives is spent by designating the state legislature as the ONLY entity able to decide how it all gets spent. The way things are now, state agencies spend money allocated to them as they see fit, putting the money where they believe it most needs to go, without the legislatures’ involvement. Amendment 78 would end that. It would also end the ability of elected officials, like the Attorney General and the Governor, to decide how non-tax funds get spent, for example federal money that came to the state help people cope with the pandemic.

Amendment 78 is backed by Michael Fields, former state director of Americans For Prosperity (AFP), a tea party group that belongs to a network of 501(c)(4) “dark money” groups linked to billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch. AFP has worked to block action on climate change, fought automobile efficiency standards, plotted to kill public transit projects and opposed health care reform. In August 2021, Charles Koch was ranked as the 20th richest person in the world.

So this measure appeals to people who agree ideologically with Michael Fields, Americans for Prosperity and the Koch brothers.

Proposition 119 (Statutory measure) – A qualified YES, and possible NO due to the redirection of $22 million in existing funding away from general school funding:

Prop 119 will primarily affect users of retail cannabis and the cannabis industry as a whole.

Prop 119 will incrementally increase the state sales tax on retail cannabis to 5% by 2024. Currently the state tax on cannabis is 15%. The money  would be used to fund before and after-school tutoring and care programs for low income children.

While that does sound good, Proposition 119 would also transfer $22 million out of the State Land Trust to help pay for these new programs, and that is money that would otherwise be directed to general school funding, so the measure would siphon off some money from public schools.

Proven capable former County Clerk Sheila Reiner will be directing Mesa County elections November 2, 2021

If the measure passes, at first just teachers and existing school employees would be funded to carry out these programs. Eventually the measure would set up a committee to screen individuals and entities to assure they are qualified to receive the funds.

Unsurprisingly, the cannabis industry as a whole opposes the measure, saying taxes on retail cannabis are already at 15-20%, depending on the local taxes in a given jurisdiction. When asked about this measure, an employee of a local retail cannabis store said, “We aren’t at liberty to talk about it. Read up on the measure, and make your own decision.”

If you buy a lot of retail cannabis products, the amount you will spend on your cannabis would increase under this measure, so you might feel like voting against it unless you feel generous. If you sell retail cannabis products, your selling prices will increase to cover the tax.

Some opponents say it would be better if the funds generated by Prop 119 would go to directly towards funding public schools, but that’s not the case with this measure.

But lower income kids in the state who lack access to resources outside the school system to help improve their education would be the beneficiaries of the added expense, so voters have to weigh how they are impacted vs. their goodwill towards kids in the state who could benefit from these funds.

Proposition 120 (Statutory measure) – NO.

Proposition 120 would reduce the property tax rate charged on a narrow subset of property types, specifically multi-family and lodging properties like hotels and bed and breakfast establishments, from 7.15% to 6.5%. It is estimated this measure would cut the state’s property tax revenue by $1.03 billion in 2023. These cuts could reduce the amount of state funds going to local governments for things like fire departments, local schools, libraries, water and sewer districts, etc. Proponents say it would help people struggling to pay property taxes.

Mesa County Ballot Issue 1A: YES

Mesa County Ballot Issue 1 A imposes a 5% tax on the first sale of unprocessed cannabis by a cultivation facility. Use of the funds generated will be up the to County Commissioners, but they are supposed to go towards mental health and substance abuse services “and/or related governmental services.”

Mesa County Ballot Question 1B: YES

Ballot Question 1B would allow the county to provide cable and internet services and/or work with a private partner to provide it. It would allow a cable/internet system spearheaded by the County to compete with local cable and internet providers. The measure lets the County opt out of a 2005 law that prevented local government from providing these services unless voters opted them out of the 2005 law. It would allow local government to provide improved or expanded broadband service, and build their own infrastructure if they want. By 2017, 29 of Colorado’s 64 counties had opted out of this law, and 66 of 270 municipalities have opted out. The measure might help bring competition to the local cable/internet market. This measure would not increase taxes.

Mesa County Ballot Question 1C: YES

Allows cultivation and testing of cannabis in the unincorporated county.

 

Mesa County Valley School District 51 Ballot Issue 4B: YES.

The “Urinal from Hell” in the boys’ locker room in Grand Junction High School.

Ballot Measure 4B is a bond measure to finance construction of a new Grand Junction High School. It would increase property taxes about $3/month for every $300,000 worth of value of people’s homes.

There’s no way around it. This building is a decrepit hell hole and desperately needs to be replaced. We have to do better by kids in Grand Junction, especially at the town’s namesake school.

If you want to see what the current building looks like, you can see photos of the school taken in October, 2019 here.

  10 comments for “AnneLandmanBlog Voter Guide for ballot measures for Nov. 2, 2021 election

  1. A new Grand Junction Highschool is great in principle, however, I have personally seen a new school being built in another state. It was plagued with huge cost-overruns, then was never even completed due the abysmal poor quality of construction materials and practices.
    The roof leaked and mold took over. It was eventually torn down and replaced before it ever even opened.
    The new school will not be built to standards that would see it lasting 50 years, but 20 years would be a nice start!

  2. I will vote No on Mesa County Measure 1A. It would take taxes from cultivators not selling places only to allow the Commissioners to decide how to spend them supposedly on mental health services needed as a result of the cultivation of cannabis.
    It is my opinion that there is no evident need presented to justify asking for money from cultivators. Leaving the choice to Commissioners on where to apply clear funds on an unclear cause is not justified. When a real need appears and is stated, then we shall be invited to vote. Not now. Thank you.

  3. It cannot possibly be overstated the importance of a comfortable safe school for all kids. Looking at those photos, no wonder taking a piss causes compounding anxiety, which leads to drug use, which leads to pregnancies and violence.

    Feeding, fornicating, and feces – the three tenets of a functioning society. Get these kids a new school, one with teachers that want to teach. And nice shitters.

  4. Lots of people will look at those photos and say, “they just need to better maintain what they have”. Many people seem to think they have a detailed knowledge of construction costs and details. But the real question is whether it would be cheaper to rebuild the existing school or build a new one. I dont think 99% of us voters know the answer to that and I take the word of school experts, that it will be more cost-effective to build a new school than to try to rebuild the existing one.

  5. The only thing I disagree with is Prop 119: I will be voting NO. This is a band aid on a slashed artery. Why not take the bold, ethical, and necessary measure to fully fund public education to ensure that students do not fall behind? Smaller class sizes. A school nurse and counselor in every school. Full 5 day school weeks. These measure require the much more difficult to pass increase in property taxes to properly fund our public schools and properly serve our students and their families. Colorado ranks third, between Alabama and Louisiana, in lowest property taxes. We have much more to grow and gain through this revenue source over cannabis sales. I also worry that this makes “black market” cannabis more financially enticing, making this 5% tax increase backfire. Numerous after school and summer programs already have numerous scholarships available. These are often non-profits, not the privately owned capitalist private ventures which will ultimately be the beneficiaries of Prop 119, with little qualifying prerequisites, oversight, and an estimated $1,000,000 bureaucratic price tag for implementation. We need to do the greatest good for the greatest amount of our students. In my opinion as a former educator, Prop 119 is a mis-guided drop the 55 gallon drum that is the proper education and support of all children, whether rural or urban, in Colorado. Thanks for the discussion Anne.

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