Proposed amendments on the Colorado ballot: what you should know

October 31, 2016

Ellie Colpitts

ecollpitt@uccs.edu

     Although most voters are preoccupied with the presidential race, there are other important issues on the ballot worth paying attention to this November.

     Here is an outline of a few of the proposed amendments in Colorado with a few pros and cons of each.

     All of the following information came from the 2016 State Ballot Information Book.

Amendment 69 – State Health Care System (ColoradoCare)

     If passed, private health care will be replaced by a statewide health care system.

     All adult income would be taxed at 10 percent to support this system.

     Funding would also come from a 10 percent payroll tax divided by the employer paying two thirds and employee paying one third. If passed, private insurance could be kept but taxes on the public system would still need to be paid.

     A benefit to the measure will allow affordable, comprehensive care to be more accessible for all citizens regardless of background or financial history.

     A negative aspect to universal health care would decrease quality of care for the individual. Additionally, the measure would burden businesses with more taxes.

Amendment 98 – Primary Elections

     This measure would allow voters who are registered as unaffiliated to vote in the primary elections, including those for U.S. Senators.

     A pro of voting yes for this amendment is that elected officials would be forced to do a better job of appealing to moderates, rather than voters on either side of the spectrum.

     But primaries are not always required to happen. Voting no on this measure means that Republicans and Democrats can decide to not hold primary elections if 75 percent of a party’s central committee agrees.

Amendment 70- Minimum Wage Increase

     With the passing of this amendment, the minimum wage in Colorado would increase by 90 cents every January until it reaches $12 an hour in the year 2020. Current minimum wage is $8.31 an hour.

     Those who vote yes would increase wages that employees earn, which would allow them to afford basic necessities while working fewer hours, allowing for better home, social and physical well-being.

     The increase would also boost Colorado’s economy.

     Voting no on this amendment would mean that it would be more expensive to allocate payroll funding for employees, especially for small business owners.

     The gap between tipped and untipped servicers would become greater and more evident, causing greater inflation in the economy.

Amendment 74 – Tobacco Product Taxes

     In an effort to reduce the number of Coloradans using cigarettes and tobacco, an additional 22 percent tax will be placed on tobacco products. The measure will accumulate an estimated $315.7 million in the first year.

     Voting yes on this amendment means that profits from this increased tax would be allocated for creating programs to prevent young people from smoking, fund research on tobacco-related diseases and support veterans’ health programs.

     A reason to oppose passing the amendment is that taxing products would disproportionately burden those with lower incomes who are more reliant on tobacco use and cannot afford addiction therapy.

Proposition 106 – Medical Aid in Dying

     This measure proposes that those 18 and over with a terminal illness and have six months or less to live would be allowed to acquire a prescription to end their life.

     Qualifications for this procedure include being mentally competent, as determined by two doctors who are familiar with the patient’s situation.

     A benefit of this act allows patients to be in control of their bodies and diseases.

     The measure would also save time and money for hospitals and allow for the patient’s donated organs to be utilized in a better state than if the patient had undergone the full extent of the disease.

     A con of this measure means that the aid would go against many people’s religious and moral beliefs. Insurance companies may make the case that providing medical aid in dying is more cost effective than providing them with lifelong medical care.

     The passing of this amendment might also create the issue of relatives plotting family deaths to receive inheritance.