Colorado Republicans care about affordability and your cost of living

Colorado is a great place to live, to raise a family, to find your dreams – but it’s becoming less and less affordable, more and more expensive, due to policies enacted by a Democrat majority.

Based on their track record, putting Democrats in charge will put the brakes on our economy, on job growth, and on pay increases. Your taxes will go up because, after all, Democrats are in the business of collecting from one group and distributing to another. In fact, if you take that key element out of Democrat politics, you’re left with very little. They are in the business of redistribution. Think about that. They are the self-appointed middlemen who take from you, give to others, and call themselves compassionate, all while using your labor, your work, and your money to achieve their political ambitions.

The past several months have brought a slew of economic good news

Economic conditions don’t improve by magic; policies matter! Republican policies insure that individuals and businesses will have an environment that encourages their success, not one that punishes them for it.

After the election of 2016, Democrats told us we were doomed, that our economy would tank, we’d go to war, and the stock market would crash[1]. But our Republican commitment to smaller government, fewer regulations, lower taxes and greater opportunity for all has led to the economic gains we’re experiencing as a nation. In the 19 months since Republicans were put in charge in Washington,

  1. We’ve added over 4 million new jobs![2]
  2. Unemployment has been brought down to 3.7% – the best in 49 years[3], and unemployment for minorities has never been lower[4].
  3. The economy is now growing at over 4% a year – put another way, that’s 75% higher than the average rate of growth during the last four years Democrats were in charge, and there’s more to come![5]
  4. Wages are growing at nearly 3% a year – and that’s before the benefits of the Republican tax cut have come fully into force!
  5. Consumer optimism is at an 18-year high[6], and small business optimism is at a 35-year high![7]
  6. The stock market has grown 50%![8]

Here in Colorado, elected Republicans have a similar commitment to smaller government and greater opportunity for all.

Thoughts & Data Concerning Propositions, Amendments

Amendment 112: 2500-foot setbacks for oil and gas operations

  • We already have safe and effective regulation of our oil and gas industry – it’s never been cleaner or safer to operate a well in Colorado!
    • A recent study from Weld County (with the highest number of wells in the state) revealed that the rates of cancer, respiratory illness and heart disease decreased even as natural resource production increased.[9]
    • 10,000 air samples from producing regions found that levels of emissions were “safe”, even for sensitive populations.
  • Powerful economic impacts: a study released on July 27, 2018 by the Common Sense Policy Roundtable[10] showed that Proposition 112 would result in …
    • a loss of between 33,500 and 43,000 jobs in the first year, and more than 100,000 in following years.
    • a total loss to Colorado’s economy from $169 billion to $217 billion over 12 years.
    • reductions to state and local tax revenue of somewhere between $7 and $9billion over 12 years. This would means less General Fund money available for things like teachers, police and roads.
    • economic repercussions across many industries in Colorado: Twenty-three percent of the impacted jobs would be from the oil and gas sector, but passing 112 is also projected to eliminate …
      • 12,000–16,000 retail jobs
      • 9,000–12,000 health care jobs
      • 8,000–10,000 construction jobs
      • 7,000–9,000 hotel and food service jobs
      • 7,000–9,000 local government jobs, including teachers
      • 4,000–6,000 real estate jobs
    • The setback distance would all but eliminate oil and natural gas development –
      • It would put 85 percent of the state off limits to new oil and gas development, according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
      • More than 94 percent non-federal land in the state’s top five producing oil and natural gas counties (Weld, Garfield, La Plata, Rio Blanco and Las Animas) would be unavailable for new production, according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

Amendment 73: Increasing income, property and corporate taxes in Colorado to fund public education

Funding for public education is required by our state constitution. A little background information regarding K-12 spending is helpful:

  • In the past 2 years, the Colorado legislature has increased General Fund K-12 education spending 13%, even though enrollment has only gone up 1.2%. Nearly 37 cents of every tax dollar received by the state goes to education.
  • On average, school districts receive a little over $15,000 per student per year from federal, state, and local sources[11]; put another way, if 21 students begin first grade together, by the time they graduate from high school the taxpayers of Colorado will have spent about $3.78m on them!

Amendment 73 would …

  • raise corporate tax rates by 30% (from 4.63% to 6%)
  • raise taxes on the highest earners by 78% (from 4.63% to 8.25%) – this would be the 9th highest in the country), and impact many middle class families
  • permit revenue from the tax increase to be used for things like subsidized preschool, subsidized day care, or additional administrative positions.
  • force taxpayers who face unexpectedly large tax payments because their homes have appreciated quickly to sell and move if their incomes cannot keep up with the increased tax demands
  • lock education spending in place even if student enrollment declines or technology enables effective education in something other than a traditional school environment

Proposition 109: A citizen’s initiative to require the state of Colorado to bond $3.5 million for specifically listed road and bridge projects around the state, without raising taxes

  • Proposition 109 requires the legislature to do its job by funding the Department of Transportation (CDOT) to insure we have modern, safe roads and bridges without a tax or fee increase.
  • These new transportation projects will shorten your daily commute, make living outside Denver and other large cities more convenient, and enable our businesses and tourism to thrive.
  • Why are our roads so bad?
    • Although Republicans in the House and Senate were able to insist that some of last year’s extraordinary budget surplus be spent on roads, the state legislature has largely ignored transportation funding for over a decade (mostly to fill the growing obligation of Medicaid expansion instituted by Governor Hickenlooper).
    • When voters approved Referendum C in 2005, its proponent argued that transportation was one of the four key funding needs – yet since then, less than one-half of one percent of the $18.8b retained by the state has been spent on transportation. We therefore have a constitutional and conscience-bound obligation to spend more on transportation.
    • A great deal of “transportation” funding has been used to pay for government subsidized mass transit. RTD, which serves Denver-Boulder-Aurora, has a total budget of nearly $2 billion, but carries fewer than 4.5% of commuters in the Denver Metro area. By contrast, CDOT carries travel over the entire state and had a total budget of only $1.4 billion.
  • Can we afford this?
    • The total cost of the bonding will be less than 2% of the state’s current budget.
    • The state currently has a $1.3 billion surplus, with more projected to come.
    • According to our own Legislative Council, changes in federal tax law will result in a windfall for Colorado. The state expects to receive nearly $900 million a year in new funding.

[1]   https://www.thenation.com/article/donald-trumps-trade-wars-lead-next-great-depression/

[2]   https://data.bls.gov/pdq/SurveyOutputServlet, added to the September report (https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-private-sector-adds-230-000-jobs-in-september-1538571398?mod=article_inline).

[3]   https://www.denverpost.com/2018/10/05/us-unemployment-rate-falls

[4]   https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-04/black-and-hispanic-unemployment-in-america-reach-record-lows; http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-jobs-trump-unemployment-illinois-20180507-story.html

[5]   https://www.statista.com/statistics/188185/percent-chance-from-preceding-period-in-real-gdp-in-the-us/. This is calculated beginning first quarter of 2013 to third quarter of 2016 (2.34% average under Obama; data for earlier years was not immediately accessible. arguably, we were just recovering from the Bush-era recession), and comparing to first quarter of 2017 to third quarter of 2018 (using Atlanta Fed numbers for this year’s third quarter).

[6]   As of September 2018, https://www.conference-board.org/data/consumerconfidence.cfm

[7]   As of September 2018, https://www.advisorperspectives.com/dshort/updates/2018/09/11/nfib-small-business-survey-small-business-optimism-shatters-record-previously-set-35-years-ago

[8]   Compare stock market on the Friday prior to 2016 election (Dow = 17,888) and close of day October 3, 2018 (Dow = 26,828).

[9]   https://eidhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Weld-County-Health-Report.pdf

[10]  http://commonsensepolicyroundtable.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/CSPR_CO_Infographic_HR.pdf

[11] https://www.cde.state.co.us/cdefinance/fy1617revexp