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Colorado government sector lobbying

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Taxpayer-funded lobbying is government to government lobbying. Counties, cities, school districts, public facilities and associations of public employees frequently use public funds to influence legislation and appropriations at the state and federal levels.

This practice is controversial because public funds are spent to lobby for an agenda not subject to direct approval by voters, and outcomes may be contrary to taxpayers' benefit.

County

Despite the fact that lobbying is allegedly less common for county governments, which according to law are extensions of the state, counties in Colorado are active in lobbying.[1] Besides membership in government sector lobbying associations (see below), counties register lobbyists to represent their interests. Adams County and Arapahoe County have lobbied the federal government since at least 2002. In 2004, El Paso County hired a lobbyist for in-state lobbying.[1]

Sheriff

The sheriff has lobbied against legislation, including a "bike safety" bill in 2009.[2]

Opposition to tax reform amendments

Several quasi-governmental agencies used taxpayer funds to oppose two tax reform amendments and one proposition initiated by citizen groups on the November 2010 ballot.[3] Colorado Counties, Inc., the Colorado Municipal League and the Special Districts Association each donated $6,250 to fight these taxpayer-initiated reforms for a total of $18,750.[3]

These tax reforms include:[3]

  • Amendment 60, which would reform the property tax system, stop taxation by unelected boards and end illegal tax increases without voter approval,
  • Amendment 61, which would limit government borrowing, restore the 1876 ban on state borrowing, require voter approval for local borrowing and repay all state and local debt
  • Proposition 101, which would lower vehicle, income, and phone taxes and fees.

Taxpayer-funded lobbying associations

The following is a list of Colorado government sector lobbying associations by type:

County

Emergency services

Justice

Municipal

Public employees

School

Other

References