2018 Ballot Question Voter Guide for Arvada Businesses

October 05, 2018

by Kami Welch, Arvada Chamber of Commerce

The Arvada Chamber of Commerce is committed to being a champion for your business. One of the ways we do that is by tracking legislation that has an impact (positive and negative) on businesses. The conversation that leads to a decision is focused on what is in the best interest of our businesses today and in to the future guided by our legislative priorities as outlined below. Through a pro-business and bipartisan lens we evaluated each of the below outlined ballot questions in an effort to understand the implications if they were to pass. The conversations start with our Government Affairs Committee vetting the issues and making a recommendation to the Chamber Board of Directors. The Board then evaluates the recommendations and determines the final organization position.

Increased Transportation Funding

The growing economy and population is putting immense strains on our infrastructure, leading to congestion and deferred maintenance. Colorado faces a $9 billion backlog of road projects statewide. The Colorado legislature must fund basic transportation needs first in the budget and continue to find new sources of funding for transportation in the short, medium and long-term.

A Strong, Competitive Business Climate

While the local economy is strong, the legislature must ensure effective economic development incentives and a balanced regulatory framework if we are to withstand future downturns. This includes passing legislation providing small businesses with the ability to cure minor rule violations before facing a fine.

Attracting and Retaining Skilled Employees

Colorado’s skilled worker crisis is now acting as a brake on economic growth. Our high schools and institutions of higher education must graduate more Coloradans equipped to thrive in today’s economy. Colorado’s crisis in affordable, or even attainable, housing will impair Jefferson County’s ability to attract and retain businesses and the employees that make them successful. The Legislature must continue to focus on the public policy drivers behind high housing costs

Below you will find an overview of the positions that the Arvada Chamber of Commerce took on the 2018 ballot.

State-Wide Ballot Measures

Amendment 73 – Income tax increase for school funding

Arvada Chamber of Commerce Position: OPPOSE

We believe that Amendment 73 will have a disproportionate impact on small businesses. It eliminates Colorado’s long-standing and pro-growth flat income tax and institutes a progressive tax structure, with top rates that would put Colorado in the top 10 in the country. Additional considerations included:

  • It would significantly reduce revenue to special districts in Jefferson County.
  • It would be a constitutional amendment that is extremely difficult to adjust in the future.
  • It does not adjust brackets for inflation.

Proposition 109 – General funds bonds for transportation funding

Arvada Chamber of Commerce Position: OPPOSE

Amendment 109 directs the Colorado legislature to issue $3.5 billion in bonds for transportation funding and repay that debt from existing revenues without raising taxes. The Arvada Chamber’s concern is that this would cause issue with other state funding needs and priorities. We believe that while this is an interesting short term solution, it will not ultimately fix the scope of need in Colorado longterm.

Proposition 110 – Sales tax increase for transportation funding

Arvada Chamber of Commerce Position: SUPPORT

Proposition 110 would create a much needed new revenue stream for transportation funding by increasing the state’s sales tax from 2.9% to 3.52%. This increase would raise $767 million in the first full year. The overall revenue would support the state highway fund, county, multimodal projects and most importantly city transportation needs. With this guaranteed revenue the state could issue up to $6 billion in bonds to address pressing needs immediately. Additional considerations included:

  • It would share the financial burden amongst residents and visitors who both use our roads.
  • It raises the sales tax across all Colorado communities to keep the Arvada competitive in Colorado.
  • 78% of Colorado’s roads will need to be repaired in the next 10 years. New funding will be crucial to support the magnitude and timing of these repairs.

Proposition 112 – Require 2500 foot setback for new oil and gas development

Arvada Chamber of Commerce Position: OPPOSE

Proposition 112 would prohibit drilling for oil and gas within 2500 feet of any occupied structure or body of water. The Arvada Chamber believes this is too extreme and puts the oil and gas industry and their employees at extreme risk of sustainability in Colorado. Colorado’s oil and gas industry represents nearly 7% of jobs, represents 1100 businesses and pays $1 billion a year in taxes. We believe that passing this will have significant impacts on the Colorado economy.

Amendments Y & Z – Independent commissions for state and congressional redistricting

Arvada Chamber of Commerce Position: SUPPORT

Amendments Y & Z establish non-partisan, independent commissions to re-draw Colorado State legislative and congressional district lines every 10 years after the Census. The commissions would be made up of Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters. Incumbent legislators and the parties would not be able to control the process of drawing new maps. We believe that this process will assist Colorado in maximizing the number of competitive legislative and congressional districts.

Jefferson County Questions

5A + 5B – Jeffco Public Schools Funding

Arvada Chamber of Commerce Position: SUPPORT

The Arvada Chamber of Commerce sees a direct correlation between student success and workforce readiness. In a recent survey of our membership overwhelmingly businesses sited workforce as their primary challenge. Question 5A is a $33 million property tax mill levy override to fund district operations and salaries. Question 5B is a $567 million bond package to improve the district’s schools and facilities. Through these dollars there is a strong emphasis on career technical education programs and STEM education which will directly assist in workforce readiness. Additional considerations include:

  • $130 million in bond will be directed towards Arvada schools
  • Supports a stronger local economy through increased teacher pay and planned school improvements.
  • Supports student safety through additional funding at our schools.

Arvada Ballot Question

3F – Safe Streets Arvada – 2 Big Projects, No New Taxes

Arvada Chamber of Commerce Position: SUPPORT

The Arvada Chamber of Commerce believes that safe and maintained transportation infrastructure is vital to the long-term economic success of Arvada. This proposed debt reauthorization offers the City of Arvada the opportunity to bond two major projects without increasing taxes. This investment now we saves money and is a more efficient way to invest in infrastructure improvements.

Interested in joining these conversations in the future? Contact Kami Welch at kami@arvadachamber.org or call 303-424-0313.


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