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Coloradans to vote on higher weed taxes, lower property taxes (for some) and state spending

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DENVER (KDVR) — Check your mailbox: statewide ballots started going out on Friday. On this year’s ticket, you will see three statewide proposals for your approval or rejection.

The proposals this year deal with three main things:

  • State money
  • Marijuana sales taxes
  • Property taxes

People who have been working on the measures for months warn voters the devil is really in the details this time around.

Amendment 78: Spending state money

The first item on this year’s ballot is Amendment 78.

It would give state lawmakers a say in how state money outside of the budget is spent, rather than going through the state treasury. It would open the door for public hearings to be held on the state spending custodial money.

“The biggest example is COVID money,” said Michael Fields of Colorado Rising Action. “The governor spent $1.6 billion of COVID money without the approval of the legislature. When you look at how we spent it, a lot of it was on education. You can agree with how we spent it, but the fact that he was able to do that without that input from legislators, there was a lot of push back from legislators at that time.”

It requires 55% of the vote to pass.

Proposition 119: Increase marijuana taxes

Up next is yet another proposal about pot.

Through Proposition 119, supporters want to see a 5% increase in marijuana sales taxes by 2024 to fund $137.6 million toward school learning programs. It would also create a separate state agency to manage the program.

Opponents say that is unnecessary, saying the state Department of Education is already receiving marijuana tax dollars and federal aid to help with learning losses from COVID.

“If this Proposition 119 wins, the money would go directly to this independent agency without the oversight like [the Colorado Department of Education] has, and it would be used to contract with private providers, and those providers would be certified by this unelected board,” said Judy Solano with the No on Prop 119 campaign.

It requires a simple majority vote to pass.

Proposition 120: Reduce some property taxes

The last measure, Proposition 120, deals with property taxes.

Supporters want to reduce rates for multifamily housing and lodging properties by more than $1 billion overall statewide, but thanks to a bill passed at the capitol this year, supporters think it could end up in a legal battle if enough voters say yes.

“By passing SB21-293, they said: ‘We’re going to do a temporary cut for right now, we’re going to change some definitions around and say that your ballot issue applies to multifamily or lodging.’ Which were totally made-up categories by them, not us citizens bringing forward this initiative,” said Fields.

The legal battle over that language would happen after election. Voters have until November 2nd to turn those ballots in.

It requires a simple majority vote to pass.

You can read through the 2021 State Ballot Information Booklet here.

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