As I’ve posted previously on proposed small-government measures here in Colorado, I suggest that voters disconnect from the misinformation (and lies) abounding regarding these proposals and simply read the bills to make their own decision.
The focus of this post is on Amendment 61, the details of which can be read here. First, what will voters see on the ballot in November?
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning limitations on government borrowing, and, in connection therewith, prohibiting future borrowing in any form by state government; requiring voter approval of future borrowing by local governmental entities; limiting the form, term, and amount of total borrowing by each local governmental entity; directing all current borrowing to be paid; and reducing tax rates after certain borrowing is fully repaid?
And here’s the text of the amendment itself:
Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Colorado:
Article XI, section 3 is repealed and re-enacted to read, as stated in the original constitution: “The state shall
not contract any debt by loan in any form.”
Sections 4, 5, 6(2), and 6(3) are repealed as obsolete and superseded.
Section 6 (1) is repealed and re-enacted as section 6 to read: “Without voter approval, no political subdivision
of the state shall contract any debt by loan in any form. The loan shall not be repealed until such indebtedness
is fully paid or discharged. The ballot title shall specify the use of the funds, which shall not be changed.”
Article X, section 20 is amended to add:(4)(c) After 2010, the following limits on borrowing shall exist:
(i) The state and all its enterprises, authorities, and other state political entities shall not borrow, directly or
indirectly, money or other items of value for any reason or period of time. This ban covers any loan, whether
or not it lasts more than one year; may default; is subject to annual appropriation or discretion; is called a
certificate of participation, lease-purchase, lease-back, emergency, contingency, property lien, special fund,
dedicated revenue bond, or any other name; or offers any other excuse, exception, or form.
(ii) Local districts, enterprises, authorities, and other political entities may borrow money or other items of
value only after November voter approval. Loan coverage in (i) applies to loans in (ii). Future borrowing may
be prepaid without penalty and shall be bonded debt repaid within ten years. A non-enterprise shall not
borrow if the total principal of its direct and indirect current and proposed borrowing would exceed ten
percent of assessed taxable value of real property in its jurisdiction.
(iii) No borrowing may continue past its original term. All current borrowing shall be paid. Except enterprise
borrowing, after each borrowing is fully repaid, current tax rates shall decline as voter-approved revenue
changes equal to its planned average annual repayment, even if not repaid by taxes. Such declines do not
replace others required. Future borrowing is void if it violates this paragraph (c), which shall be strictly
enforced. Conflicting laws, rulings, and practices are repealed, overturned, and superseded.
Is it such a bad idea that our state start living within its means? This amendment seeks to limit the amount of borrowing done by Colorado, and to make any such borrowing subject to the approval of the voters. After all, the voters are on the hook to repay the debt in the form of taxation.
Propaganda against this amendment would have us believe that all state borrowing is prohibited, but that’s simply not true. Will voters approve borrowing for various projects? Sure, if they deem those projects to be worth their money. No, if not. What’s so bad about that?
Now if only we could add such an amendment to the U.S. Constitution…
Tune out the hype. Read the proposed amendment. Decide for yourself.