ColoradoBiz’ stance on 2008 ballot issues

Referendum 0: Yes
This measure would make it harder for citizens to place constitutional amendments on the ballot for voter approval but easier to call a vote on state statutes. As we’ve seen from consequences of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, tinkering with the state constitution is something Colorado should consider with great caution.

Amendment 46: No
This measure would prohibit the state from granting preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex or ethnicity for public employment, public education or public contracting. We look forward to the day when we can vote in favor of such a measure — when women- and minority-owned businesses in Colorado don’t need special consideration to get a fair shake.

Amendment 47: Yes
This measure would prohibit unions and employers from negotiating “union shop” contracts that require employees to pay union membership or agency fees as a condition of continued employment. Such contracts are unfair to workers and bad for business.

Amendment 49: Yes
This measure would bar automatic deduction of union dues from public employee paychecks.

Amendment 50: No
This would allow the Legislature or voters in cities that permit gambling to extend the hours of gambling operations and also add roulette and craps and increase the maximum bet to $100 from the current $5. Even though 78 percent of the extra tax revenue would go to higher education (the rest to the gambling towns), we believe promoting expanded gambling is not a path to economic stability.

Amendment 53: No
This would make executives criminally liable for fraudulent activity they know about within their businesses but fail to report. It would give companies another reason to avoid Colorado, drive up insurance costs and discourage executives from sitting on the boards of nonprofits. State and federal laws already suffice.

Amendment 54: Yes
This amendment would bar anyone who receives a no-bid contract of $100,000 in a single year from a governmental agency from contributing to political campaigns, ballot initiatives or an elected official’s campaign. Amen.

Amendment 55: No
This would establish “just cause” for employee discharges or suspensions. Colorado is a work “at will” state. Let’s keep it that way.

Amendment 56: No
This measure would require companies that employ 20 or more people in Colorado to provide major medical health-care coverage for employees and their dependents. We believe market competition for workers, not Colorado law, should determine the level of benefits companies offer.

Amendment 57: No
This would require employers to maintain a safe and healthy workplace for employees. Another onerous measure that federal regulations already address.

Amendment 58: Yes
This would eliminate some exemptions to property taxes for payers of the oil and gas severance tax and increase the rate. Revenues would be used to fund college scholarships. Although we support this measure, we would prefer the funds go directly to the operating funds of the state’s colleges and universities to help them drive down overall costs.

Amendment 59: Yes
This measure would create a savings account within the state education fund. The money would come from revenue that would otherwise be rebated to voters under TABOR. It would also require that state educational spending increase by the rate of inflation plus 1 percent through fiscal 2010-2011. We support this measure, too, though the state needs a more permanent solution to its education funding woes.