Colorado voters decide to increase sales tax on marijuana | Colorado News

DENVER (AP) – Colorado voters will decide in Tuesday’s election whether to raise the sales tax on marijuana to fund after-school programs, such as tutoring, tech training, mental health counseling and enrichment programs in the arts.

This question is one of many questions asked of state voters about voting initiatives this year that also include a measure that would limit the number of unrelated adults who can live together in Denver and one that would limit the power of governors spend funds from outside sources like the federal government.

Here are some of the more interesting voting initiatives:

MARIJUANA SALES TAX INCREASE

The measure would increase the state’s retail marijuana sales tax rate from 15% to 20% over the next three years. A majority of “yes” votes would create a board appointed by the governor to administer the program, which aims to provide educational and enrichment opportunities with after-school programs and tutoring. The program would prioritize eligible Colorado children between the ages of 5 and 17 whose families are at or below the poverty line.

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Supporters of the initiative say it is timely and necessary due to the educational gaps exacerbated by the pandemic and even more so for students of color, those from low-income families and students with special needs.

The “No on Proposition 119” group says it is withdrawing already limited funds from public schools and would create a private board of directors without oversight or accountability with interests outside the state.

Denver’s polling initiative would repeal a group living amendment passed by city council that increased the number of unrelated adults who can live together. The amendment changed the city’s zoning code to allow up to five unrelated adults to live together in one house rather than the current limit of two. The amendment also allowed residential care facilities such as halfway houses for drug addiction programs to operate in more parts of Denver.

Groups like the popular Denver Safe and Sound campaign have raised concerns that an increase in the number of roommates and nursing homes will negatively impact the quality of life in neighborhoods, leading to more congestion, overcrowded parking and more garbage. “Keep Denver from becoming like Seattle, Portland and San Francisco,” the campaign website says.

But those who oppose the repeal argue that the amendment removes affordable housing options and makes life more difficult in Denver, one of the most expensive booming cities with a steadily increasing population over the years. the last decade.

POWER OF GOVERNORS TO SPEND FEDERAL FUNDS

The constitutional amendment would require legislative approval for the state to spend money received from outside sources, such as the federal government or legal regulations.

A conservative group sponsored the initiative after Democratic Governor Jared Polis used his executive powers to distribute nearly $ 1.7 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds in May 2020.

Michael Fields, executive director of Colorado Rising Action, an organization promoting conservative policies, is spearheading the measure, arguing that Governor Jared Polis’ allocation of federal pandemic funds was not transparent. In a Colorado Politics opinion piece, Fields calls for the elimination of “senior management slush funds.”

However, opponents argue that limiting the appropriation of federal money puts more work on the part-time legislature and creates more bureaucracy, which could delay state spending in an emergency like a pandemic.

Election officials will still count the votes for a polling initiative in Denver that would have allowed residents to sue the city for a slow response to the cleanups of homeless settlements, even though a judge ruled on Sunday that the delay was illegal and should be deleted.

The measure originally allowed people to sue the city if authorities did not clear an encampment within 72 hours of a complaint.

Even if that passes, the part that would have allowed residents to sue the city for a slow response to the cleanups of homeless settlements will not be enforced, said Jacqlin Davis, spokesperson for the city’s attorney’s office.

The amended ballot question still asks voters to decide whether to create up to four licensed city-funded campsites on public property with running water, toilets, and required lighting. But local homeless advocates say four sanctioned sites are still not enough to address the scale of the problem.

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