Denver voters OK all ballot measures except college affordability sales tax


Ballot measure 2C celebration

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DENVER -- All but one Denver's ballot measures were supported by voters on Tuesday, including Measure 2C, which will have big implications for the National Western Stock Show.

The television ads supporting the measure were hard to miss. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock urged residents to support the measure, using a longhorn steer to make his point.

The measure passed with 65.6 percent of the voters saying yes and 34.5 percent saying no.

RELATED: Election results

The big-money deal will overhaul and expand the National Western Complex and the Colorado Convention Center. Several roads and other infrastructure surrounding the National Western Complex will also get a face-lift.

The catch? The work comes with a price tag of more than $800 million. To pay for it, the city's debt will rise to $778 million, and a current tax on hotels and rental cars that was set to expire in 2023 will be extended indefinitely.

"There are much better uses that money could benefit the citizens of Denver," said Thad Teczo, an opponent of the measure.

Teczo and others are also worried about the burden on taxpayers.

"These are the people who when they wanted to expand the convention center told us they needed to become a world-class city and escape our cow town image. Now all of a sudden being in a cow town is a good idea when it means hundreds and millions of dollars for corporations," he said.

Money from 2C will also fund several other projects. Among them, a cleanup of a stretch of the South Platte River and the capital to fund a year-round farmers market. They're all projects aimed at bringing more tourists to the Mile High City.

There's also the jobs benefit. Supporters say Measure 2C will create thousands of temporary jobs during construction, as well as more than 100 permanent positions.

"The voters of Denver get so much by voting for the transformation of this site to a cutting edge year round campus. With this vote, the voters of Denver said yes to upgrading our neighborhoods," Hancock said.

In other Denver measures:

1A: Airport expansion

A measure to allow nonairport businesses at Denver International Airport passed with 78 percent of the vote. Voters in Adams County also approved the measure.

2A: College affordability sales tax hike

A measure backed by Hancock and Gov. John Hickenlooper to use tax money to fund college scholarships failed, with 51.9 percent of the voters saying no.

2B: Marijuana taxes

Voters allowed Denver to keep extra money raised by marijuana sales with more than 80 percent voting yes.

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