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Friday August 23rd 2019

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That's what she said

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Triple Trouble on the Ballot


Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 (the “Ugly Three”) would be most devastating to local school districts, but they would also significantly damage local governments, non-profit corporations and local businesses according to non-profit and government leaders at a press conference on October 5.

Ken Roberge, president of the Boulder Valley School District Board, stated that Amendment 60 would reduce its property tax revenues by about half to $60 million a year, that Amendment 61 would make it almost impossible to manage cash flow and to build new schools or renovate new ones due to the high costs of 10 year-long loans, and that Proposition 101 would slash state revenues by up to 24 percent and cost the BVSD about $9.5 million a year in lowered revenues. Roberge claimed that the compound effect of the “Ugly Three” would be to cut the BVSD’s revenues by about half, or $3,300 per student per year.

l to r: Bob Hullinghorst, John Creighton, John Cody, Dickie Lee Hullinghorst, Ken Roberge, Rollie Heath, Josie Heath, Susan Osborne, Frances Draper, Susan Andre

John Creighton, the president of the St. Vrain Valley School District Board, asserted that all together the “Ugly Three” would chop $42 million from the district’s $200 million general fund budget. He predicted that, if the measures pass, the wealthier students would all transfer to private schools, and the remaining ones would receive a dismal education.

Boulder’s mayor, Susan Osborne, forecast that Amendment 60 would cost the city between $5 and $11 million the first year and between $8 and $15 million a year when fully implemented. She also stated that it would cost the city’s utilities between $7.6 and $35 million a year in property taxes and lead to rate increases to customers of between 22 and 104 percent. She further projected that Amendment 61 would reduce city revenues by $3 million the first year and from $1 million to $1.7 million per year when fully implemented. The mayor also claimed that Proposition 101 would chop $6.2 million from the city’s revenues the first year, and $7.9 to $8 million a year when fully implemented. All together, she said that the “Ugly Three” were expected to cut the city’s budget by 15 percent.

State Senator Rollie Heath warned that if the “Ugly Three” were enacted, and the state of Colorado funded K through 12 education at current levels, as Amendment 60 would require, only $35 million would be available in the state’s budget for all its other services.  Heath also commented that, apart from the Ugly Three, a long-term solution needed to be found to the state’s chronic fiscal shortages. He observed that Colorado’s tax revenues are the seventh lowest in the United States. He said he is hopeful that the recommendations in November of a coalition of business, labor, non-profit and government leaders formed to help pass Referendum C several years ago, plus a report in January from the University of Denver, would lead to feasible, long-term, structural reforms.

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