Southern Colorado lawmakers react to statewide initiatives

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COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado’s General Assembly sent two initiatives to voters last spring, hoping for money to spend on road infrastructure, transportation infrastructure, K-12 education, and higher education.

Voters said ‘no thanks’.

Proposition CC would have forever eliminated the Tax Payer Bill of Rights, keeping that money for K-12 education, higher education and transportation. It was soundly defeated, by more than 140,000 votes (12%) at last check.

Proposition DD would legalize sports gambling, tax casino’s earnings, and use that money to fund state water projects. That measure was locked in a dead heat all night Tuesday, not straying further than a couple of decimal points on each side of 50 percent.

“We haven’t done a good job [at the Capitol] of prioritizing water projects to include water and to include roads and bridges,” said State Senator Owen Hill, representing Colorado Springs.

Hill says, with $1 billion in revenue growth for the state over the last three years, lawmakers don’t need to keep the money, rather better to spend what they have.

“We don’t have to tax people more in order to [fund infastructure]. Democrats in the senate and house are controlling everything up there and are not making that a priority,” said Hill.

In 2005, voters approved a temporary elimination of the refund that lasted five years. Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs State Representative Marc Snyder says that, while he voted to put CC on the ballot, it went too far.

“In retrospect, I would have preferred a ten-year maybe. I think polling indicated that it was pretty well supported. At 16, it’s much less supported and certainly forever is a long time.” said Snyder.

As for DD, Snyder says, the state’s population growth and potentially shrinking water supply will reach a breaking point, and without the money for the state’s water plan, it could be back to the drawing board.

“It’s such a big problem and such a future problem for us. We’ll just keep plugging away, finding sustainable ways to fund our future water infrastructure,” he said.

Hill opposed CC and had issues with DD, but sees the need for funding water projects.

“We don’t want to be like California. We see what happens when you don’t fund water projects,” he said.

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