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* '''The Denver Post''' was opposed to Amendment 61. In an editorial, the board said, "Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 may appear to be simple tax-cutting measures that will appeal to voters tired of big-government spending, but don't be fooled. The operating language within each one is a virus that would cripple the ability of our local and state governments to provide the most basic of services — from building schools for our children to supplying clean water to our homes...Don't be fooled, Colorado. Amendments 60 and 61 and Prop 101 are not smart budget-cutting measures. They're out to cripple Colorado, and should be rejected at the polls."<ref>[http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_15451284 ''The Denver Post'', "Ballot item could cripple Colorado," July 7, 2010]</ref>
 
* '''The Denver Post''' was opposed to Amendment 61. In an editorial, the board said, "Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 may appear to be simple tax-cutting measures that will appeal to voters tired of big-government spending, but don't be fooled. The operating language within each one is a virus that would cripple the ability of our local and state governments to provide the most basic of services — from building schools for our children to supplying clean water to our homes...Don't be fooled, Colorado. Amendments 60 and 61 and Prop 101 are not smart budget-cutting measures. They're out to cripple Colorado, and should be rejected at the polls."<ref>[http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_15451284 ''The Denver Post'', "Ballot item could cripple Colorado," July 7, 2010]</ref>
  
* '''ColoradoBallot.net''', a local blog, was opposed to Amendment 61. The blog stated, "This amendment is one of the Dr. Evil three put on the ballot by Doug Bruce. It's impact will be an immediate reduction in state income severe enough that it will drastically reduce virtually all state services."<ref>[http://www.coloradoballot.net/2010/colorado-amendment-61-limits-state-local-borrowing.htm ''ColoradoBallot.net'', "61: Limit Borrowing," accessed September 7, 2010]</ref>
+
* '''ColoradoBallot.net''', a local blog, was opposed to Amendment 61. The blog stated, "This amendment is one of the Dr. Evil three put on the ballot by Doug Bruce. It's [sic] impact will be an immediate reduction in state income severe enough that it will drastically reduce virtually all state services."<ref>[http://www.coloradoballot.net/2010/colorado-amendment-61-limits-state-local-borrowing.htm ''ColoradoBallot.net'', "61: Limit Borrowing," accessed September 7, 2010]</ref>
  
 
* '''TimesCall.com''' was opposed to Amendment 60, 61 and Proposition 101. In an editorial, the board said, "Each measure alone goes far beyond reasonable concern about the size of state and local government. Taken together, the three create a tsunami of effects likely to keep Colorado in a recession from which we might never recover. Voters are encouraged to vote against 60, 61 and 101."<ref>[http://www.timescall.com/editorial/editorial.asp?ID=23630 ''TimesCall.com'', "Ballot items’ cure far worse than disease," September 26, 2010]</ref>
 
* '''TimesCall.com''' was opposed to Amendment 60, 61 and Proposition 101. In an editorial, the board said, "Each measure alone goes far beyond reasonable concern about the size of state and local government. Taken together, the three create a tsunami of effects likely to keep Colorado in a recession from which we might never recover. Voters are encouraged to vote against 60, 61 and 101."<ref>[http://www.timescall.com/editorial/editorial.asp?ID=23630 ''TimesCall.com'', "Ballot items’ cure far worse than disease," September 26, 2010]</ref>

Revision as of 22:58, 1 July 2014

Voting on
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Colorado Constitution
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The Colorado State and Local Debt Limit Initiative, also known as Initiaitve 61 was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in Colorado as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was defeated.[1][2] The measure would have prohibited borrowing by state or local government and require voter approval for future loans.[3] The primary sponsor was Russell Haas.[4][5]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results
Colorado Initiative 61 (2010)
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No1,284,30773.01%
Yes 474,772 26.99%

Election results via: Colorado Secretary of State - official 2010 general election results

Text of measure

The language appeared on the ballot as:[5]

Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning limitations on government borrowing, and, in connection therewith, prohibiting future borrowing in any form by state government; requiring voter approval of future borrowing by local governmental entities; limiting the form, term, and amount of total borrowing by each local governmental entity; directing all current borrowing to be paid; and reducing tax rates after certain borrowing is fully repaid?[6]

Constitutional changes

See also: Colorado Amendment 61 (2010), constitutional text changes

If approved by voters, Article XI, section 1 of the Colorado Constitution would have been repealed and a new section would have been added. Additionally, Article X, section 20 would been amended.[7] The proposed changes can be read here.

Colorado Constitution
800px-Flag of Colorado.svg.png
Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXIIXIIIXIVXVXVIXVIIXVIIIXIXXXXXIXXIIXXIIIXXIVXXVXXVIXXVIIXXVIIIXXIXSchedule

Support

Supporters of Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and 61 said the proposed measure would have forced government to operate more efficiently and cut bloated spending.[8] Marty Neilson, president of the Colorado Union of Taxpayers, said she believed the measure would have been beneficial for the state of Colorado. "There is plenty of taxing going on and too much spending," she said. Additionally, Neilson rejected the argument that county government and school districts would have been harmed by the tax changes.

She added, "I know the schools' mantra: 'It's for the children.' But many of our graduates going on to college have to take remedial classes. These schools need to perform a bit better and do it on the funds they have."[9]

Arguments

  • Marty Neilson, president of the Colorado Union of Taxpayers said, "It's our general belief that the state of Colorado has enough money to spend. They can spend more wisely, or even cut their spending," said Neilson at a May 2010 Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce's "State of the State" session.[8]
  • Natalie Menten, campaign coordinator for the three ballot measures, agreed that with the three proposed measures government would receive less funds. But that, she said, was the point. "These are moderate, modest proposals for taxes and tax reform. They are phased in over many years, so it’s a gradual process. The more money that we can put into individuals’ hands and business owners’, that’s what really grows an economy," said Menten. She added that supporters felt it was right time to make the proposals because of "the actions of the government." The mood, among citizens she said was "ripe" for the proposed changes.[10]
  • In response to the large number of local officials who spoke out against Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and 61 Natalie Menten, the campaign's spokesperson, said, supporters' goal is not to make it harder for local governments to operate but to see efficiencies. "Some government entities have become enterprises to avoid falling under TABOR. For instance, a golf course. If they’re going to see any decrease in services, they should look at whether they are charging appropriately," she said.[11]
  • Despite having the existing TABOR law Menten said the initiatives were necessary. "High-paid, government-paid lawyers have tried to find loopholes in TABOR. If you look at the car-registration tax, that should have been put to a vote and it wasn’t. They’re supposed to ask us about debt. They’ve created this loophole called certificates of participation and are spending millions on interest that we never got the opportunity to approve. This closes those loopholes. School districts need to get back on track and not be wasting money on interest," said Menten.[11]

Donors

The main committee in support of Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and Amendment 61 was CO Tax Reforms. According to August 2010 reports, the committee had reportedly received $12,262.24 in contributions and spent $5,074.90. Their balance at the time wa $7,187.34.[12][13]

Below is a chart that outlines major cash contributions to CO Tax Reforms:

Contributor Amount
Muhammad A. Hasan[14][15] $5,000
Seeme Hasan (retired)[16][15] $5,000
Coleen & William Robinson (retired)[17] $2,760

Opposition

Coloradans for Responsible Reform was the main political action committee in opposition to Amendment 60, Amendment 61 and Proposition 101. They described it as the "the evil three" ballot questions. Coloradans for Responsible Reform was led by Rick Reiter who argued that the measures would devastate the state.[10][18]

The University of Colorado Board of Regents passed a resolution on July 16 to oppose Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101.[19] Some cities and counties also spoke out or passed resolutions against the proposed measures, including: Monte Vista, the Town of Frisco, Ouray County, Colorado Springs City and Grand Junction City.[20][21][22][23] A list of cities, counties and school boards in opposition to the proposed measure can be found here.

Senate President Brandon Shaffer, House Speaker Terrance Carroll, Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry and House Minority Leader Mike May opposed Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and Amendment 61.[24] Some 2010 gubernatorial candidates announced their opposition in February 2010: Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, the Democrat running for governor, and former Congressman Scott McInnis, one of the Republicans running.[25]

Arguments

See also: More Amendment 60 opposition arguments
  • Twenty-three of 27 Republican State Representatives and five of 14 Republican State Senators signed a letter urging Republicans in the state to vote no on Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and 61. "Yes, these three issues are a direct reaction to poor treatment of taxpayers by Democrats. However, this reaction is so far overreaching that it will ultimately kill Colorado jobs and strip local governments' ability to provide police and fire protection and to educate our children," said the letter.[26][27]
  • John Straayer, a political science professor at Colorado State University, was opposed to Amendment 60, Amendment 61 and Proposition 101. "These initiatives pose to the voters in a stark fashion whether they want the world of Douglas Bruce or an efficient and functioning government system," said Straayer.[28]
  • Colorado Counties Inc., a nonprofit organization that "offer[s] assistance to county commissioners, mayors and councilmembers and to encourage counties to work together on common issues," announced in December 2009 that they were opposed to Amendment 60, Amendment 61 and Proposition 101. Additionally they announced plans to contribute $10,000 for a review of submitted signatures.[28]
  • Gov. Bill Ritter, who was attempting to close a $1 billion state budget shortfall, characterized Amendment 61, Amendment 60 and Proposition 101 as "dangerous."[28] In March 2010 Ritter said his top priority was defeating Amendment 60, 61 and Proposition 101.[29]
    • Proposition 101 and amendments 60 and 61 on the November ballot "would set Colorado back a generation and bring to a halt the pro-business environment we have all worked so hard to build," said Gov. Bill Ritter in May 2010 at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce's "State of the State" session.[8]

Donors

According to August 2010 reports, Coloradans for Responsible Reform, an opponent of Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and 61, had reportedly received $4.109 million in campaign contributions and spent $3.877 million. Their final balance at the time was $231,335.98.[30] Compared to May 2010 reports, supporters reported that they had received $777,000 in campaign donations and had a total of $671,190 in the bank.[31] In July 2010, state campaign finance records revealed that opponents received contributions from 36 businesses and 11 business & trade groups.[13]

Below is a chart that outlines major cash contributions to Coloradans for Responsible Reform:[32][33]

Contributor Amount
National Education Association $400,000
Colorado Contractors Association, Inc. $300,000
Colorado Education Association $250,000
The Colorado Health Foundation $175,000
Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association $150,000

Campaign advertising

  • Opponents purchased $2 million of television air time. Their ad campaign was expected to launch after Labor Day.[13]
  • On September 8, 2010 Coloradans for Responsible Reform launched a one-minute ad in opposition to Prop 101, Amendment 60 and 61. According to reports, the ad called the three measures "The Ugly Three." The radio ad ran on 64 stations in 39 cities.[34] The radio ad can be heard here.

Tactics and strategies

  • In May 2010 Coloradans for Responsible Reform launched a website called www.donthurtcolorado.com in order to fight Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and 61. According to reports, the group raised approximately $800,000 to fight the measures. The campaign group was supported by Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and others. According to Coloradans for Responsible Reform the proposed measures would have made Colorado an "investment-flight state."[31]
  • On August 14, 2010, opponents of Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and Amendment 61 gathered at the Robert Hoag Rawlings Public Library, the headquarters of the Pueblo City-County Library District. According to reports, the crowd consisted of about 50 local politicians, school, library and business leaders.[35]
  • On August 25 opponents hosted a rally at the Pioneers Museum gazebo from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm to explain and distribute information on the potential impact of the three measures. The rally, according to reports, was sponsored by the Citizens for Effective Government and group of businesses and organizations.[36][37][38]
  • On September 27, 2010 opponents met in front of empty seats at Invesco Field to illustrate the 73,000 jobs they argue would be lost should Amendment 60, 61 and Prop 101 be approved by voters.[40]

Other perspectives

  • 2010 Gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo announced in an early September debate that he supported Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and 61. Tancredo said, "The people of Colorado are not under-taxed; we are over-governed" and added "It’s really a reaction to people being overtaxed and taxed without their permission. The passage of these things will be an indicator that things are coming to a change and we’ll have to deal with it."[41] However, in late September 2010, Tancredo said he was unsure about the measures.[42]

Policy analysis

The Bell Policy Center

The Bell Policy Center, a nonprofit organization based in Denver, released a series of reports regarding the impact of Proposition 101 and Amendments 60 and 61. According to the preliminary analysis, if Amendment 61 was implemented, Colorado would become the only state in the nation without the authority to issue debt. Additionally, the treasurer's current practice of issuing revenue anticipation notes to fund building buildings on school campuses, for example, would no longer be allowed. In regard to local governments, borrowing would be considered bonded debt thus requiring the debt to be repaid in ten years. Borrowing would be limited to 10 percent of the assessed taxable value of real property, if Amendment 61 was passed.[43][44]

Colorado Municipal League

The Colorado Municipal League released a report on June 28 regarding the possible future impacts of Proposition 101 and Amendments 60 and 61. The organization is described as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization "that provides advocacy, information and training to build stronger cities and towns." It was founded in 1923.[45] According to the released report the organization concluded that all three measures would have been "devastating to local government’s finances." Sam Mamet, executive director of the organization, said, "These are very, very dramatic in terms of their impact on municipal finance unlike I’ve seen in a very long time. This comes on top of two years of significant budget cutting and layoffs and service reductions. This really just cuts directly into revenue streams for local governments and just adds more stress to an already stressful situation."[46]

Colorado Legislative Council

In July 2010 the Colorado Legislative Council released an analysis of proposed measures Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and Amendment 61. The analysis described the possible fiscal impact of the three measures. According to the report, it assumed "each measure is fully implemented in FY 2010-11."[47][48]

According to the report, if all of the measures would have been implemented in FY 2010-11:

"the state would lose $2.1 billion in revenue and would have to increase K-12 education funding by $1.6 billion. The combined impacts mean that K-12 education funding would require about 99 percent of the General Fund budget. A homeowner earning $55,000 per year with a $295,000 home would save approximately $1,800 annually in taxes."[47]

Specifically, Amendment 61 was expected to:

"prohibits the state from incurring new debt, imposes new limits on the amount of local government debt, and requires tax rates to be reduced when debt is repaid. If the repayment of existing debt requires a reduction in tax rates, the amendment will require the state to cut its tax revenue by $500 million and local governments to cut $2.8 billion. These tax rate cuts are expected to reduce property taxes by $678 for a $295,000 home and save the average household earning $55,000 about $130 per year in income taxes. In addition, an estimated 36 school districts will exceed or equal the new debt limits and be unable to borrow money to build public school facilities. These school districts represent almost half of the students in the state."[47]

Media editorial positions

Main article: Endorsements of Colorado ballot measures, 2010

Opposition

  • Steamboat Pilot & Today was opposed to Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and 61. In an editorial the board said, "It will be tempting come fall — particularly in the midst of a recession — to fall victim to campaign spots that promise reduced income taxes and vehicle registration fees. We think voters are smarter than that and will see the crippling effect Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 would have on state and local governments, which will be manifested in the diminishment, and in some cases abolishment, of services...It’s hard to imagine that, armed with the facts, voters could support such ill-conceived initiatives come November."[49]
  • The Denver Post was opposed to Amendment 61. In an editorial, the board said, "Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 may appear to be simple tax-cutting measures that will appeal to voters tired of big-government spending, but don't be fooled. The operating language within each one is a virus that would cripple the ability of our local and state governments to provide the most basic of services — from building schools for our children to supplying clean water to our homes...Don't be fooled, Colorado. Amendments 60 and 61 and Prop 101 are not smart budget-cutting measures. They're out to cripple Colorado, and should be rejected at the polls."[50]
  • ColoradoBallot.net, a local blog, was opposed to Amendment 61. The blog stated, "This amendment is one of the Dr. Evil three put on the ballot by Doug Bruce. It's [sic] impact will be an immediate reduction in state income severe enough that it will drastically reduce virtually all state services."[51]
  • TimesCall.com was opposed to Amendment 60, 61 and Proposition 101. In an editorial, the board said, "Each measure alone goes far beyond reasonable concern about the size of state and local government. Taken together, the three create a tsunami of effects likely to keep Colorado in a recession from which we might never recover. Voters are encouraged to vote against 60, 61 and 101."[52]
  • The Gazette was opposed to Amendment 60, 61 and Proposition 101. In an editorial, the board wrote, "The problem with 60, 61 and 101 is the fact they go beyond traditional measures to keep government in check...Voters should reject 60, 61 and 101. But the measures should serve as bold notice to politicians that citizens want limited, accountable government and will stop at almost nothing to get it. After all, these measures didn’t land on the ballot by osmosis. More than 100,000 voters asked for them in writing."[53]
  • The Tribune was opposed to Amendment 60, 61 and Proposition 101. In an editorial, the board said, "We understand voters' frustration with government spending...Voters need to understand these three measures could simply change our state, forever...Colorado has enough financial challenges to face without tying our hands any further and mucking up our state constitution worse than it already is. The Ugly 3 would make our government's task nearly impossible. Vote against amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101."[54]
  • The Coloradoan was opposed to the proposed measure. "The Coloradoan editorial board already has recommended against Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101, which are tax measures that will badly damage the state's economy...," said the editorial board.[55]
  • The Durango Herald was opposed. "The 'bad three' [Amendments 60, 61 and 101] really would hurt Colorado. Together, they would cut fees and taxes, require public entities such as colleges to pay property tax, ban all government debt and effectively reduce Colorado to Third World status," said the editorial board.[56]
  • The Vail Daily said, "While many of us would like to send a message to government to keep out-of-control spending in check, these ballot initiatives are not the way to do it. We strongly recommend just saying “no” to Amendment 60, Amendment 61 and Proposition 101."[57]
  • The Glenwood Springs Post Independent said, "Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101 are blind stabs at controlling government spending without understanding the effects of these knee-jerk approaches. If these measures pass, government spending would decrease dramatically, but the repurcussions on citizens will include school closures and a general decline in the quality of life for the Western Slope."[58]

Polls

See also: Polls, 2010 ballot measures
  • A poll conducted August 19-23, 2010 by Ciruli Associates revealed that 36% of polled voters favored the proposed measure, while 34% were opposed and 29% were undecided. The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. A total of 550 registered Colorado voters were polled.[59][60]
  • A poll conducted September 28-30, 2010 by SurveyUSA revealed that 10% supported the proposed measure, while 49% were opposed and 40% remained uncertain. SurveyUSA surveyed 649 likely voters by phone and it's margin of error was plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.[61][62][63]
  • An October 19-21, 2010 poll by SurveyUSA for the Denver Post and 9-News revealed that 18% of polled voters supported Amendment 61, while 63% were opposed and 20% were undecided. According to reports, the poll had a margin of error of 4.2-4.3 percent. A total of 540 voters were polled.[64]
Legend

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
August 19-23, 2010 Ciruli Associates 36% 34% 2% 550
Sept. 28-30, 2010 SurveyUSA 10% 49% 40% 649
Oct. 19-21, 2010 SurveyUSA 18% 63% 20% 540

Campaign contributions challenged

A group opposed to Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and Amendment 61 called Protect Colorado’s Communities requested an explanation for how proponents of the measures spent $200 or less to print and circulate the petitions. According to state law, if more than $200 was spent to place a proposal on the ballot, proponents were required to register issue committees. Protect Colorado’s Communities argued that it takes thousands of dollars to place a measure on the ballot. The Colorado Secretary of State was expected to issue a statement in early January 2010.[65]

Campaign finance hearing

A campaign finance hearing was held in April 2010 in an effort to clarify who financed the signature-gathering effort for Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and 61, all of which appeared on the ballot. However, tax advocate Douglas Bruce was not present at the hearing.[66]

Of the hearing in an April 20 motion, Russell Haas, sponsor of Amendment 61, said, "The problem is, as we said all along, the evidence DOES NOT EXIST. His (Grueskin’s) fishing expedition has produced NOTHING because there is NOTHING to produce. Volunteer petition drives are lawful. He has NO RIGHT to learn who volunteered to help, or orally supported or signed our forms." However, opponents of the measures argued in a court document that supporters of Proposition 101, Amendment 60 & 61 used "obstructionist" tactics and had continuously tried to hamper the efforts to "unravel the 'scheme of secrecy' behind the three ballot issues."[67]

Although Bruce had appeared to have no involvement with the measures, Secretary of State records revealed that the eight professional petition circulators lived in an apartment house on Boulder Street near Colorado Springs. The proposed was owned by Bruce. The petition circulators had since moved but the records called into question Bruce's involvement in the campaigns. According to reports, court records revealed that Bruce failed to show up for a deposition weeks prior to the hearing, despite being served with subpoenas.[68]

On March 10 Bruce described the subpoenas as a "case of gross harassment." In regard to the April hearing, Bruce said he did not appear because he was not subpoenaed.[66][68]

At the request of attorney Mark Grueskin, who represented opponents of the measures, and attorney Scott Gessler, who represented proponents of Amendment 61, Administrative Law Judge Robert Spencer moved the hearing to May 24-25.

After tax advocate Douglas Bruce failed to appear at the April 2010 hearing state officials asked for an order to force Bruce to attend. The attorney general's office filed the petition on behalf of the secretary of state's office.[69][70] On May 11 District Court Judge Brian Whitney issued an order that stipulated that Bruce was required to appear for the deposition.[71]

As of May 18, the attorney general said a total of 23 attempts to serve the court order had failed.[72]

Douglas Bruce tied to measures

See also: Douglas Bruce

In a campaign finance complaint hearing on May 24, 2010, after much speculation, Douglas Bruce was identified as a "guiding force" in Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and Amendment 61. Proponents said they received ballot language and instructions from a "Mr. X" in unsigned emails. Michelle Northrup testified on May 24 that she believed "Mr. X" was Douglas Bruce.[73] During the hearing, Northrup said she didn't approve of the evasion tactics being used by proponents of the ballot measures. According to May 24 testimony proponents said they received advice from Bruce on the language of the ballot measures, how to get the measures approved for the ballot by the Secretary of State's Office and on the signature petition campaign.[74][75][76]

Attempts to subpoena Bruce in time for the May 24 hearing failed. Mark Grueskin, lawyer challenging campaign contributions, asked Administrative Law Judge Robert Spencer to keep the hearing open until Bruce's testimony could be collected but Spencer denied the request. According to the judge a decision on the finance complaints was to be issued in 15 days.[77]

According to reports in late May, the state of Colorado tried and failed to contact Douglas a total of 29 times.[78]

State files contempt motion

On Friday, June 18, state officials filed a contempt motion in Denver District Court. The motion requested that the judge find Bruce in contempt of court for not testifying in the administrative proceeding and for avoiding process servers.[79] In response to the motion, Bruce argued that he had done nothing wrong. He said, "A subpoena requires personal service. I was not personally served. Therefore, I was not legally served."[80] If Bruce was found in contempt of court it was expected that he would be fined for every day he didn't respond to the subpoena (March 19-May 24). According to Bruce, he was out of town on vacation.[81]

On June 23 a Denver judge cited Bruce with contempt of court.[82] Denver District Court Judge Brian Whitney said, "Based on the state’s showing in the motion, there is cause to believe that Mr. Bruce has not complied with the order and that, to date, he remains in disobedience of the order."[83]

A hearing was set for July 26 at 8:30 am in Denver.[84] Additionally, Bruce was ordered to appear at a June 30 hearing as a witness in a grand jury investigation.[85][86] According to reports, the grand jury hearing was unrelated to Bruce's political activities and he was only serving as a witness.[87]

On July 26 Bruce appeared in court in regard to the contempt citation.[88] Bruce argued that he was out of town and did not purposely try to evade the subpoena. "I can produce motel receipts ... to prove that I wasn't here," said Bruce. Despite the state's arguments that Bruce should have faced civil or criminal charges, Bruce was not charged with a crime. District Judge Brian Whitney said, "I don’t plan to impose incarceration."[89][90]

The case was scheduled to resume on August 18.[91] On August 9 it was reported that Bruce hired "one of Denver's most high-profile lawyers" - David Lane - to represent him in the case.[92] According to reports, Lane was involved in such high-profile cases as: "Balloon Boy" father Richard Heene; Tim Masters, who won $10 million in settlements after being wrongly imprisoned for a decade; and former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill.[93]

On September 7, 2010 Denver District Judge Brian Whitney ruled that Bruce was not in contempt of court for not testifying on the ballot measures case. However, Bruce was ordered to appear for a deposition on the three initiatives (Amendments 60 & 61 and Proposition 101) to answer questions about his involvement.[94][95][96]

Filing with State Court of Appeals

In late July 2010 sponsors of Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and Amendment 61 filed an appeal to a judge's order to disclose contributors of the proposed measures.[97] According to the filed appeal, it alleged that Denver Administrative Law Judge Robert Spencer, who presided over the case, engaged in "flagrant misconduct." Additionally, the appeal stated, "The weaving of wild speculative theories about unknown contributions in kind by unknown persons, and other distractions from the fact that there was NO evidence appellant ‘accepted’ over two hundred dollars." Judge Spencer ruled in June that the sponsors should have formed committees and reported the expenditures and contributions. The judge also issued $2,000 in fines against the three sponsors.[98]

Complaint filed

On October 18, 2010 Coloradans for Responsible Reform, opponents of Proposition 101 and Amendments 60 and 61, filed a campaign-finance complaint. The coalition argued that Douglas Bruce illegally used a charity, Active Citizens Together (ACT), to fund the petition signature drive for the measures. "We now know, finally, where the money — or a significant portion of it — came from," said Mark Grueskin, attorney for the group.[99]

ACT is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded by Bruce. According to Secretary of State Bernie Buescher, aside from the alleged violations, ACT had not registered with the state as required by law. "Frankly, I'm frustrated there are so many campaign-finance violations going on where either these groups do not register at all with us or, when they register, they don't file reports, or if they file reports, they're frequently incomplete or inaccurate. Next year, I'm going to be asking the legislature to look at the way these groups evade their obligations of disclosure," said Buescher.[99]

The administrative court hearing was held December 14, 2010.[100]

On December 28, 2010 Administrative Law Judge Matthew Norwood levied $11,300 in campaign-finance fines against ACT for not reporting what was spent on the 2010 ballot measures. According to reports, the fines is believed to be the largest fine in state history against an issue committee.[101][102]

Voter guide controversy

The Blue Book, the state's voter guide, created some debate prior to the 2010 elections. According to proponents of Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 the book was biased. The blue book was written by staff of the Legislative Council, a nonpartisan service agency. The council was in charge of writing "fair and neutral analyses of the initiatives." The language along with a fiscal analysis was included for each measure. During the process of drafting the 2010 voter guide, officials communicated with proponents via email. In a July 20, 2010 email Natalie Menten, a spokesperson for the group argued that the effects of the proposed measures would not be seen for more than a decade after implementation. In writing the draft analysis, officials attempted to show the effcts in the 2010-11 budget. Menten said, "Take your LYING July 8th 'draft' report, which you already fed to all legislators, publicly repudiate it in writing, and then throw your draft in the trash."[103] The 2010 voter's guide was approved the Legislative Council on September 1, 2010.[104]

Path to the ballot

See also: Colorado signature requirements and 2010 ballot measure petition signature costs

In order to place the proposed measure on the ballot supporters were required to collect a minimum of 76,047 valid signatures. In December 2009, Secretary of State Bernie Buescher approved the measure for the ballot after validating the submitted signatures.[105] A total of 138,867 signatures were submitted. A random sampling of 5% of the signatures revealed that approximately 103,192 signatures were valid; a sufficient number of signatures to place the measure on the ballot.[106]

Signature summary

Below is the signature county summary according to the Colorado Secretary of State:[107]

  • Total number of qualified signatures submitted: 138,867
  • 5% of qualified signatures submitted (random sample): 6,944
  • Total number of entries accepted (valid) from random sample: 5,160
  • Total number of entries rejected (invalid) from random sample: 1,784
  • Number of projected valid signatures from random sample: 103,192
  • Total number of accepted entries necessary for placement on ballot: 76,047
  • Percentage of presumed valid signatures: 135.7%

See also

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Suggest a link

Related measures

Approveda Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights Act (1992)
Defeatedd Colorado Motor Vehicle, Income, and Telecom Taxes, Proposition 101 (2010)
Defeatedd Colorado Property Taxes, Amendment 60 (2010)

Articles

External links

Additional reading

Local response & impact

Editorials

References

  1. The Durango Herald, "Colo. voters reject ballot initiatives," November 4, 2010
  2. LandLineMag.com, "Colorado voters get say on transportation-related questions," November 11, 2010
  3. Associated Press, "Colorado debt limit proposal makes Nov. ballot," December 11, 2009
  4. KDVR Denver, "Taxes, personhood, possibly health care set for November ballot," March 29, 2010
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