DENVER (CBS4)– Another election is just around the corner and it will likely include three statewide ballot measures. Signatures are due Monday but supporters of the Learning Enrichment and Academic Progress (LEAP) initiative will turn-in their petitions Friday.
The measure asks for a 5% tax increase on recreational marijuana to help fund out-of-school education programs for low-income kids and those with special needs. Additional funding would come from royalties, rents and leases on state property. It has support from Democrats and Republicans.READ MORE: 2 People Shot, Another Killed Outside Broomfield Walgreens
Proponents of a property tax reduction measure are also feeling good about their chances for success at the ballot after the average sale price of a single-family home in the Denver metro area hit nearly $730,000 last month, a new record.
“Just because a home goes up in value doesn’t mean you have more money in your pocket in order to pay the taxes. We were concerned about the impact this would have on seniors and people on a fixed-income,” says Michael Fields, Executive Director of Colorado Rising Action.
The conservative group is behind the measure that would cut the property tax assessment rate by 9%.READ MORE: Crash On I-70 In Wheat Ridge Causes Large Traffic Backup
“Government is growing so fast on the property tax side,” says Fields. “This is just slowing the growth. If there is a double-digit increase and a 9% cut, the government will still have more money next year.”
He is also behind a ballot measure that would bring transparency to all government money. It’s in reaction to a CBS4 investigation last year that found corporations and private foundations were making billions of dollars in donations to the governor’s office with no oversight for how the money was spent. The ballot measure would require so-called custodial funds – which also include federal stimulus dollars and legal settlements – to go through the normal legislative budgeting process, with hearings and public input.
“It really just opens up the books so there aren’t any slush funds in the executive branch,” says Fields.
Groups need just over 124,000 signatures to make the ballot. Fields says they’ve gathered 190,000-200,000 signatures each for the property tax and government transparency measures. He says they’ll hand in petitions on Monday.MORE NEWS: I-70 Eastbound Closed For Fatal Crash East Of Eagle
The City of Denver will also have several ballot measures, including an initiative to increase marijuana taxes by $7 million to fund pandemic research. Denverites will also decide on two housing initiatives. One of them deals with group living while the other would require restrooms, running water and lights at sanctioned campsites for the homeless.