State Proposition 109 and 110: Denver Decides Ballot Forum 10-13-18

tamra banks and welcome to Denver
decides this Community Partnership is dedicated to accessible in transparent
elections the partnership includes the League of Women Voters of Denver in turn
aber hood cooperation and is presented by Denver atetv our mission today is to
present a ballot initiative forum in anticipation of the general election
coming up on Tuesday November 6th among the numerous amendment and ordinance
questions on this year’s ballot are state propositions 109 and 110 while
both initiatives concerning Funt concern funding for transportation there are
important distinctions between the two proposition 109 if passed would
authorize 3.5 million dollars in bonds earmarked for special projects the funds
could not be used on multi-modal or mass transit and initiative 109 prohibits
raising any taxes or fees for bond repayment which would be required before
funding education Corrections and social services including Medicaid initiative
110 would authorize six billion dollars in bonds to fund transportation projects
establish the transportation revenue anticipation notes citizens Oversight
Committee and raise the state sales tax rate by 0.62% from 2.9 percent to 3
point 5 2 percent for 20 years starting on January 1st 2019 through January 1st
2013 ein our format for this forum will follow a basic debate outline for
opening and closing statements cross-examination and will include
responses to questions submitted by the forum organizers let’s begin by meeting
the participants who will present and discuss the pros and cons of proposition
109 and 110 beginning at my right is Kelly broth who is with let’s go
Colorado who will be speaking in favor of proposition 110 and against
proposition 109 and on my left is my Krause
the independence Institute who will be speaking for proposition 109 and against
proposition 110 welcome to you both thanks for being here thank you we’ll
begin with a one and a half minutes opening statement for both speakers and
as you can see our timers are right up front so you can see them in real-time
your statements and your answers Ms Brown you’re up first speaking for
proposition 110 and you will have one and a half minutes thanks Tamra and
thanks to I&C the League of Women Voters in the city for this opportunity it’s
been almost 30 years since we’ve done anything meaningful to address our
transportation needs in the state of Colorado during that time our population
has doubled we’re now contributing about half per person as we were in 1991 to
fund our system that explains why seedot has a nine billion dollar project list
and our failure to fund it is costing all of us money as a matter of fact
Denver residents are lone are paying about two thousand three hundred and six
dollars a year because we’re not funding our transportation system that’s because
you’re using more gas you’re in more accidents and damage to your vehicles
because of the condition of our roads that’s why 80 organizations came
together statewide to propose a solution proposition 110 this is six cents on a
ten dollar purchase and it will raise seven hundred ninety million dollars to
fund transportation that will allow us to address six billion dollars of that
nine billion dollar list leveraged a billion and a half from the state and
maybe even more importantly fund eighty eight percent of the roads that are
managed by cities and counties throughout our state those cities and
counties get to fund their highest priorities for transportation as well
the money is dedicated to transportation it can’t be used for anything else and
tourists will help pay as a matter of fact tourists will pay ninety two
million dollars of those funds in the first year that’s why governor
Hickenlooper over 500 organizations have endorsed a statewide including 48
mayor’s over a hundred chambers and business organizations numerous County
Commissioners and we’d asked you to join us in supporting 110 thank you
and now the opening statement from my Krauss speaking of for proposition 109
well thanks thanks very much we appreciate I NC and the league putting
this on I actually before I moved on to Jefferson Kenna used to be on the
Berkeley Regis United neighbors board and so I used to attend these i NC
meetings so proposition 109 is a very simple meaningful and more importantly
transparent ballot measure that would indeed obligate 3.5 billion dollars in
bonding to address the department transportations Tier one projects lists
the most critical needs around the state and we did we took all transit related
projects out of that list those are all listed inside the ballot measure the
carrying costs on the bonding is about according to Legislative Council staff
is 270 million dollars a year and we actually don’t think that that needs to
be affect any of the things that were mentioned in the beginning healthcare
education etc because it’s going to frankly we have a budget surplus and
there’s going to be even more coming down the road which I can get to in a
little bit so we really just think that we’re just asking for a tiny fraction of
the state budget and a piece of the surplus that’s coming our way to pay
these bonds back we simply don’t think it’s necessary to have a tax increase
for transportation and you know the the fundamental difference between 110 1 109
is that we we think that right now our critical need our Road and bridge
infrastructure and so that we don’t need a tax increase that also includes
multimodal and transit when what we really should be addressing is is roads
and bridges okay and now mr. Krause you have 30 seconds for rebuttal – MS broths
opening statement well I think she makes a good case that there has been a while
since Colorado has put money into our transportation a few years back we
passed some what’s called the faster fees on our vehicle registrations that
was supposed to go to roads and bridges unfortunately some of that money is
actually being siphoned off and subsidizing a statewide bus service
called bus dang to compete with the private sector so even when the
legislature does something that’s supposed to be specifically for roads
and bridges what ends up happening is that just ends up heading off down the
road we that’s 30 seconds so well thank you appreciate that Rob now you have 30
seconds so stop stop actually means stop so we do agree that we need to fund our
transportation system but 1:09 is proposing that it take its money from
your school kids and patients right now we fund higher ed 48 out of 50 a–the in
the country 55 percent of the school districts in the state of Colorado on
our four-day school week and 1 out of 4 Coloradans receive Medicaid these are
working families who are desperately dependent on these resources that are
being provided by our state 1:09 will take 261 million dollars out of those
very areas to fund transportation we think all of them are important and you
should vote for 110 instead that’s time thank you those rebuttals yeah really do
go fast now for our cross-examination rounds beginning with Ms brav you may
ask mr. Crouse a question and mr. Crouse you have one minute to replies okay Lee
this part is kind of fun you’re purple so here’s my question
1:09 really hurts education in health care to pay for transportation how would
you justify to parents teachers kids and patients the transportation is more
important than health care and education well I I don’t think we have to be in
addition to the sales tax increase it’s being asked for for 110 there’s actually
an income tax increase coming our way due to a federal tax change and let me
explain very quickly hopefully within a minute
under the new federal what we call the Trump tax cuts when you when you list
your adjusted gross income on your federal tax form that number is going to
be higher than it used to be because deductions and credits went away but
rates went down so that doesn’t really matter when you transfer that number
over to your state income tax form it’s going to be larger than it has been
before and so this is actually a windfall to the state of Colorado in
fact ledge Council estimates 300 million next year and by 2024 they estimated
over eight hundred million dollars a year in new revenue and so we’re all
we’re asking is for a little portion of that to go to roads and bridges so
nothing should have to give way to payback this bonding okay now mr. Crouse
you may ask mr. awful question this is actually I’ve been very curious about
this there’s really as I’ve read through 110 I see in there that for the and I
believe it might be the first time ever that 110 doesn’t just allow for capital
construction of transit projects around the state in a regional transit and also
for the first time allows for actual subsidizing of operational costs for in
a regional transit and so my question is if we start making the operation of
transit dependent on a sales tax that’s going to go away in 20 years what
happens after 20 years does does this now mean that the all this transit will
have to start doing what RTD is doing today which is cutting back service and
raising raising ridership fees so what 110 really does is allows every local
community to identify its most critical priorities and whether that’s bus
service for seniors which could be considered transit or it’s to address
local plowing needs to keep their highways and roads open in the winter it
is 100% a local priority that will guide that it goes away in 20 years so we as
taxpayers get to decide if the results were delivering what we expected it also
can go to capital projects that are critical for those communities and it
will absolutely go to capital projects by the state of Colorado six billion of
them okay let’s continue with cross examination and this time Mike you can
ask Kelly a question and Kelly you’ll have 60 seconds to answer if when Ted
passes sales taxes the combined sales taxes you’re going to be over 9% in
places like Glenwood Springs in nahuatl over 10% in Eagle and Empire and
actually over 11% in places like Silverthorne in Winter Park Mayor
Southers in Colorado Springs who has endorsed 109 and one of the reasons he
has done this is he actually has a concern that if sales taxes are pushed
up that high that local governments are gonna have a problem asking their local
residents for tax measures for local needs
do you not share his concern yes as a matter of fact the reason 110 only
proposes a point 6 to increase is because when you look at what we pay
in sales tax that’s only about a seven or eight percent increase overall for
every resident in the state of Colorado Colorado Springs does have a higher
sales tax so I understand some concern there but throughout the state we have
over 50 mayor’s who have endorsed us we have countless county commissioners it’s
why local communities recognize that they are getting these dollars they’re
coming into their community and addressing their needs okay now Kelly
you may ask Mike a question and Mike again you’ll have 60 seconds so Mike one
of the things about 109 is it certainly touts that transportation is a top
priority yet it does nothing to address our local roads which are 88% of the
roads in our state it addresses less than 25 percent of the state’s needs in
terms of that nine billion dollar project list you will basically improve
about three percent of the roads in the state how will that improve our lives
well you’re you’re right that it doesn’t address the localized transportation
needs and we did that on purpose because we think that state tax dollars should
go to state infrastructure while local infrastructure should be funded by local
tax dollars which is one of the reasons again that Mayor Suthers has signed on
to this so so we don’t we simply don’t think that tax payers say in the western
slope should be paying for buses in Denver or people in on southern
Colorado’s be paying for a pedestrian or I’m sorry commuter bike paths in Boulder
we think that local communities should take care of those local needs which is
why we’re concerned about the statewide sales tax increase interfering with
their ability to do that okay next round three Kelly you get to go first to ask
Mike a question and Mike again 60 seconds for your answer thanks Mike you
mandate that money can’t be used for transportation needs other than roads
given the speed at which technology is advancing and much-needed mobility
services the example I’d use again is the example of bus service for seniors
maybe to get to doctor’s appointments why would you limit in 109 the ability
to use funds for those kinds of issues well there are several reasons for that
number one that whether people like it or not
transit ridership is actually on the decline even
it’s a it’s a Natan so it’s a countrywide trend but in Denver metro
area it’s on the decline even as the population grows and as you’re saying
this because RTD is going having to cut back train routes having to or
frequencies having to raise fares and and things like one of the reasons this
is happening is things like uber and lyft and ride sharing and driverless
cars on the future are actually taking the place of some of this and so we
actually see this as a declining way to get around and when people were given
meaningful options they actually choose their cars and so we would like to see
more vehicle infrastructure prioritized over more transit now Mike your next
question for Kelly and Kelly 60 seconds to answer so since this is a Denver for
me Denver sales tax currently is seven
point six five percent if when ten passes it’ll go to eight point two five
percent if the four local sales tax measures pass it will go to eight point
nine three percent sales tax now sales taxes are regressive in nature which
means they disproportionately impact low-income people the taxes on a gallon
of milk are much larger to someone at the minimum wage and someone who makes
$100,000 a year for example so if folks in Denver think they can only afford
maybe one or two of the five potential sales tax measures on their ballot do
you think that they should prioritize one ten over their local sales tax
measure needs so first I want to clarify that this sales tax is actually not on a
gallon of milk it’s not on necessities at all just to address this very issue
to ensure that you’re not hurting families based on their need but it’s
based on goods that you have discretion over that purchase
Denver’s sales tax still would not be as high as compared to many other sales
taxes in the state of Colorado we think what’s more important is to look at the
cost you’re currently paying today the estimated costs by a national
organization is over $2,000 every resident in every driver in Denver is
pain this will actually save Denver money okay round four that brings us to
our final cross examination round and a mr. Crouse you
you’ll start it off with a question from his broth and Kelly you will have 45
seconds so timers as a change in time 45 seconds to the answer
so we one of the reasons we put prop 109 on the ballot was to give people an
alternative to the sales tax increase but we also want to see we actually want
to see money put into our transportation quickly we don’t see a path forward for
prop 110 we simply don’t we simply don’t believe it’s going to pass that said
nothing guarantee is that ours is gonna pass either so one of the things we’re
proposing is that for people who simply want to see money put into our road
infrastructure as quickly as possible that they should just go ahead and vote
for both of them in the hope that at least one passes so I guess my question
is would you join me in urging people to go ahead and vote for both and hope that
one passes so we get some cash into our roads yeah I think our focus of our
coalition throughout the state has been if you want to do something meaningful
and impact and improve transportation you really do need to approve
proposition 110 109 also puts us back in a position where you could be funding
and taking money out of critical needs throughout the state so we would not say
109 is fiscally responsible for the state of Colorado okay
and Emmas Bravo your final question for mr. Kraus and Michael have 45 seconds to
answer Jhulka I think for our Coalition we
really struggle with the response that highways are the answer to everything
don’t we reach a point where we simply can’t add more lanes highways aren’t the
answer to everything in fact we have never said and we are we openly admit
that we don’t think that our measure is the be-all end-all for all of our
transportation needs in Colorado we simply don’t think that we need a sales
tax increase and that we should become we should be using roads and bridges the
people’s desire to address roads and bridges it’s kind of a hook to also
include a bunch of statewide transit so we don’t think it’s the be-all end-all
we just we did this for three reasons basically number one is to give folks an
alternative to a tax increase number two through the bonding
to actually require the legislature to year-over-year over a year reprioritize
spending in the Colorado state budget and to put some immediate cash into the
into roads and bridges so we’re not claiming that it’s going to be a magic
bullet we’re just going to address what is the critical road infrastructure now
and those decisions get to be made in the future all right thank you
our next few rounds will feature our speakers responding to questions
submitted by our forum organizers each speaker will answer each question and
their responses will be one minute we will begin with Kelly Brock who is here
speaking in support of proposition 110 so Kelly the first question is what do
you predict will happen if neither proposition passes this is one of our
greatest concerns if neither passes because we believe what the state will
face is each local community trying to decide can I raise money in my own
little County or city to address our own transportation needs which means we
won’t have a transportation system and we will have a number of communities who
cannot address their transportation even if you pass your own local issue you
will never address this nine billion dollar project list we think it would be
devastating for the state not only for us as residents but our quality of life
would diminish okay and now my Krause who is here is speaking for proposition
109 and against proposition to 110 your response to the question please
same question yes if neither one passes then we basically go back to where we
were last year this gets kicked back to the legislature they’ve been debating
this for several sessions in fact Senate bill 1 passed this last session which
was going to refer a measure to the ballot to address transportation an
interesting thing happened in the last three days the legislative session they
they went ahead and stripped 1.7 billion dollars in debt financing for roads out
of something that had been passed the year before if either of these passes
and then put off sending Senate bill 1 to the ballot until 2019 to see what
happens this year so if neither one passes there will likely be a measure on
the 2019 ballot passed by the legislature he might not
like it that could change but anyway just go everything goes back to where it
was at the beginning of this legislative session and they have to take it back up
basically okay the next question from our organizers for our guests and Mike
you will respond first and you have one minute to answer the question is will
your preferred proposition in facts fix the damn roads I like saying that our
our preferred proposition which is proposition 109 will indeed fix some
damn roads again it’s not a silver bullet
it addresses about 66 projects that CDOT considers critical for Road and bridge
infrastructure statewide so yes it will fix some damn roads Kelly you have 60
seconds to answer that same question proposition 109 will fix 3% of your damn
roads and you won’t notice it so it’ll have no improvement in your quality of
life and the reality is even with increased revenue coming into the state
of Colorado it is already projected we’re hitting our Tabor limits our
taxpayer Bill of Rights we will be refunding dollars back to taxpayers so
that money can’t be put into transportation healthcare or education
that’s the challenge before us okay let’s continue on with our questions and
submitted from our organizers in MS broth you will respond first and you
will have one minute to answer numerous studies have shown that highway
expansion leads to a similar uptick in traffic how does your preferred
ordinance address congestion on Colorado roads the truth is what causes
congestion is more people driving on the roads and what we see is the cost of
that when we fail to invest at all is huge for all of us in the state of
Colorado I mentioned it’s over $2,000 for Denver residents throughout the
state it’s about $1,700 for every every driver in the state of Colorado
so that congestion has to be addressed see dots nine billion dollar project
list is focused on projects that get at that congestion those local communities
will focus on projects in their communities including technology and
improvements to your roads okay and now mr. Kraus your response well I think
what we’re seeing we’re seeing that despite an effort by a fair number of
people out there to to make things as uncomfortable as possible for motorists
to try and get them out of their cars that people actually prefer their
vehicles their privately owned vehicles or ride-sharing and we’re seeing this
because we’re seeing transit ridership absolutely actually decrease even as our
population goes up and the number of people commuting stays roughly the same
so rather than trying to force a square peg into a round hole which is to do
some kind of massive project in an effort to try and squeeze people into
something they might not want we’re just saying let’s expand what people do want
which is roads and bridges and trying to ease congestion that way okay and our
final round of submitted questions and Mike you’ll be the first to answer who
are the major contributors that help bring this initiative to the ballot so
we’ve we spent a little under $400,000 getting on the ballot and that came out
of the independence Institute’s savings accounts that we had tucked away for
years and years and years for the ability to do just that
we have we’ve gotten some small contributions to help with that
signature gathering cost through a fundraising effort we did on a
crowdsourcing website called freedom Phi and beyond that the money that has been
spent by the by us on this measure has come from the general operating money of
the independence Institute which would be Foundation and individual donors
thank you no specific I guess my point is there’s no specific lender for this
and Kelly your response we have a broad base of support for our initiative it
includes business organizations throughout the state of the Colorado
you’ll see nonprofits and environmental groups all coming together with our
contractors and our local mayors and communities to say this is a critical
initiative for us to get across the finish line and improve our quality of
life okay thank you and that brings us to the end of our Q&A segment and we now
move on to closing statements each speaker will have one minute
one and a half minutes rather for a closing statement and we will reverse
the order of the opening statements which means we’ll begin with Mike Krauss
Mike you have 90 seconds for your closing statement please
so for years the Colorado budget has been growing significantly in fact the
baseline spending is up over a billion dollars over just the last couple of
years yet yet all this time and we have we have found money to build and CDOT a
new headquarters but we don’t have money for roads and bridges we’ve given we
just gave North Face twenty million dollars to move a corporation here that
doesn’t need a taxpayer subsidy to do it we found money we use money from our
faster vehicle registration fees to fund a statewide bus service so so people
keep telling us there’s no money for roads yet there seems to be tons of
money for all these other things and all we’re saying is we just want to take a
tiny fraction of that state budget and reprioritize it to roads and bridges
actually transportation is actually a smaller percentage of the state budget
than it was a decade ago well something like Medicaid has increased over 200% so
all we’re asking is for the legislature to reprioritize transportation the state
budget and we think that 109 is the way to force that hand thank you Kelly
closing statement from you 90 seconds as we’ve said it’s been 30
years almost since we’ve done anything meaningful with our transportation
system and our failure to invest is costing all of us real money and the
reality is the state while it has had increased revenue is already hitting the
table limits so it doesn’t have the resources to get dedicate to
transportation for six cents on a ten dollar purchase we can generate 790
million dollars a year we can address seven and a half million dollars of that
project list that CDOT has and we can make sure our local communities can
improve their their communities and address their transportation priorities
all of the money in 110 is dedicated to transportation it can’t be moved
anywhere else and when we hit a recession and things will slow down we
will still have the revenue stream to pay off the bonds and to continue
supporting our local communities needs we choose in 110 that tourists help us
pay not our school kids and not our patients in the state of Colorado but
tourists join with us governor Hickenlooper and 500
organizations who have sponsored us throughout the state say yes to
proposition 110 all right now it’s the audience’s turn let’s show our
appreciation to our speakers for their participation thank you for your vote we
hope we’ve given you a fair look at the pro and con arguments for propositions
109 and 110 again if passed these initiatives would authorize funding for
transportation projects proposition 109 through 3.5 billion dollars in bonds
earmarked for specific projects the funds could not be used on multi module
or mass transit and initiative 109 prohibits raising any taxes or fees for
bond repayment while proposition 110 would authorize six billion dollars in
bond funds established the transportation revenue and anticipation
notes citizens Oversight Committee and raised the state sales tax rate by 0.62%
from 2.9 percent to three point five two percent for 20 years starting on January
1st 2019 through January 1st 2013 ein our thanks also to the Denver des cités
partners which include in turn a bur hood cooperation and the League of Women
Voters of Denver Denver decides is presented by Denver eight TV remember
the election is Tuesday November 6 let your voice be heard be sure you are
registered and be sure to vote for complete election information online go
to Denver decides comm I’m Tamara banks thanks for joining us

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