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Ballot Event in Kiowa County Brought Out Good Discussion

By Betsy Barnett

November 2, 2022

The Kiowa County Republican Committee hosted a Get to Know the Ballot event at the Eads Senior Citizen’s Center last Monday in order to discuss the Ballot Measures. On hand was former Colorado Legislator Greg Brophy, a Republican from Wray, to talk about the ballot measures that will be on the November 8th ballot.

Brophy was this district’s state representative for 3 years and then state senator until redistricting occurred in 2010. Since then, Brophy has raised his family in the Wray area and is still active in local politics.

The following is a summary of the measures, including Brophy’s comments as it pertains to each measure:

Amendments D, E, and F must pass the voters by a 55% or more margin and is driven by the Colorado Legislation.

Amendment D – New 23rd Judicial District Judges – requires 55% Vote to Pass (Legislature driven)

YES – directs the Governor to reassign judges from existing 18th Judicial District to the new 23rd District.

NO – may create uncertainty in Colorado law about assignment of judges and possible court disruptions.

The original 18th District consisted of Lincoln, Elbert, Douglas and Arapahoe Counties. In 2020 the 23rd District was formed keeping Arapahoe in the 18th Judicial District and forming a new district for the 3 rural counties.

Brophy voted YES on this measure and stated, “D is very important to pass. If it doesn’t pass, it’s unclear, but I believe the governor would have to appoint all new judges for the new judicial district.”

Amendment E – Extend Homestead Exemption to Gold Star Spouses – 55% (legislature)

YES – extends property taxes paid by homeowners who are the surviving spouse of either military or disabled veterans.

NO – keeps the Homestead Exemption as is.

Brophy voted YES and indicated this amendment passed the legislature with mostly support.

The senior homestead exemption cuts your property tax in half for the first $200,000 in the value of your home if you’ve lived there for 10 years and you are over the age of 65. This one will extend that exemption to military spouses or disabled veterans.

Amendment F – Changes to Charitable Gaming Operations – 55% (legislature)

YES – lowers minimum number of years a non-profit has to wait to be able to do a raffle/gaming event (from 5 to 3 years) and allows, but not required, charities to pay volunteers at minimum wage to work the fundraiser event.

NO – keep the current rule as is which is that a non-profit qualifies after being in existence for five years or more.

Brophy voted YES but indicated there is a good argument against this amendment as lowering the years requirement raises the number of charities who qualify taking up more room in the fundraising sphere.

Proposition FF, GG, and HH are all Legislative ballot questions that would make statutory changes only.

Prop FF – Healthy School Meals for All – Legislative (Statutory)

YES – Free meals to ALL public school students and offers grants to schools related to undetermined PROVISIONS of school meals. And it increases taxes by taking away income tax deductions for couples making $300,000 and up.

NO – Keeps the tax exemptions and school lunch programs the same as now with free lunches for those who meet certain income thresholds.

Brophy voted NO because it would take away tax deductions—meaning it is a tax increase. And the state already gets a large chunk of their lunch program subsidized by the federal government. This proposition would raise approximately $100 million towards the school lunch program.

If the lunch fund is over-funded, the rest goes into the general fund.

One citizen asked Brophy about the commercials saying Prop FF will help farmers. He said that is related to the fact that the school lunch program could buy food locally from farms—which they already can do.

Prop GG – Add Tax Information Table to Petitions and Ballots – Legislative

YES – Require a tax information table be included in all citizen-initiated petitions.

NO – keeps the current rules for citizen-initiated petitions.

Brophy voted NO and indicated this legislation came out of a party line vote. The intent may be transparency for voters, but Brophy believes it causes unnecessary confusion and would make the ballots more cumbersome than they already are since the tables and charts would have to become part of the ballot.

Propositions 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, and 126 are all citizen-initiated ballot measures.

Prop 121 – State Income Tax Rate Reduction – (Citizens)

YES – Reduces the state income tax rate to 4.40% for tax year 2022 and future years.

NO – Keeps current 4.55% tax rate.

Brophy voted YES although he confessed as a legislator, he served during two terms where the state was in a recession and not having that money on hand is very difficult because you’re required to cut somewhere. This decrease in the income rate will result in approximately a $300 million tax savings for the citizens, but that much less revenue for state programs.

Prop 122 – Access to Natural Psychedelic Substances – (Citizens)

YES – requires state to establish a regulated system for accessing psychedelic mushrooms and other plant-based psychedelic substances and decriminalizes the possession of such substances for citizens over 21 years of age.

NO – keeps hallucinogenic mushrooms and plant-based psychedelics illegal to possess or use.

Brophy voted YES but said to the crowd, “I have a bit of a libertarian streak in me, but you should vote no.” He went on to explain that he was interested in a number of new studies out there, mostly anecdotal, that points to these hallucinogenic as being helpful for people who are having mental health issues.

The people attending the event in Eads, however, was adamantly against this proposition. Brophy agreed that when marijuana was legalized it brought in about 300,000 of those types of people who wanted to use the drug. The same or worse will happen here. He went on to state, “This doesn’t allow the mushrooms and plants to be sold, yet, but just with legalizing marijuana, I suspect it will come very quickly.”

Prop 123 – Dedicate Revenue for Affordable Housing Programs – (Citizens)

YES–Allows the state to set aside money for new affordable housing programs and exempts the money from the state’s revenue limit.

NO – States revenue expenditures will continue to be spent on priorities determined by state legislators

Brophy voted NO on this measure because he sees it as a waste of money and relates it to the way the student loan program is funded causing the schools to be able to charge more abusing the system because there’s always money coming in.

The measure uses some of our general tax revenue for affordable housing programs. Almost $300M per year would go to existing bureaucracies such as OEDIT and DOLA for such housing related activities as down payment assistance, rental assistance for homeless, local governments for staffing in their housing departments, and grants and loans to local governments and non-profits for affordable housing.

$100 million is estimated to go to housing equity programs for the homeless.

The local citizens were mostly against this measure pointing out there’s already a massive federal program (USDA) that does this very thing and it has a long track record of success.

Prop 124 – Increase Allowable Liquor Store Locations – (Citizens)

YES–Allows more liquor store locations of one group or owner.

NO – Allows no more than three liquor stores – in 2026 it will expand to 4 locations.

Brophy voted YES saying, “I liked that a person could start a business and not have to compete with a bunch of different stores. This brings parody between chain liquor stores and grocery stores. This is being pushed by the big chain liquor stores. There’s not much of an impact out here, but it will affect the front range businesses. It might have an impact in Lamar when Walmart can add liquor. Without this, the mom and pop liquor stores could be run out of business.”

Prop 125 – Allow Grocery and Convenience Stores to Sell Wine – (Citizens)

YES – Allows grocery stores and convenience stores that currently sells beer to sell wine also

NO – Can still sell beer – but not wine.

BROPHY voted NO because he feels it is the final nail in the coffin for locally owned liquor stores.

Prop 126 – Third-Party Delivery of Alcohol Beverages – (Citizens)

YES – allows a third-party to deliver alcohol from grocery stores, convenience stores, liquor stores, bars, and other liquor licensed business.

NO – requires those businesses to use their employees to make the deliveries

Brophy voted YES because he doesn’t believe it will have much of an impact out in the rural areas. But in the cities where you have Uber Eats or Door Dash services this proposition, if passed, would put the responsibility upon the third party and not the sellers to ensure laws are followed and minors or intoxicated individuals are not given alcohol.

Brophy pointed out that Fed Ex and UPS already do this as a third-party delivery when they leave wine or beer at your house, they scan your driver’s license and have to ensure it is delivered to someone who is legal to receive it.

The evening was a success and the voters who attended came away with much more information than they had when going in. The discussion was cordial and, although not everyone agreed with Brophy’s analysis in some instances, an intelligent and friendly exchange of ideas was had. After all, that is how it should be when politics is what’s on the agenda.

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