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Vote with Women in Mind

Every Election is Important

// October 19, 2021

We Want You to Have Everything You Need to Vote by November 2nd

We don’t know about you, but it seems like just yesterday we voted in the 2020 election. While a lot has happened since then, it’s hard to believe we have an important election on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. Yes, you have another chance to center gender, racial, and economic equity when you cast your vote!

You may have already received that email or text from your county elections letting you know that your ballot is in the mail. Or, it might be sitting on your kitchen table or in that place we all have where your mail stacks up. Don’t let bills, catalogues, and junk mail pile up over your opportunity to elevate your voice in democracy! The Women’s Foundation of Colorado wants to make sure you have everything you need to get that ballot in by election day. 

Check out our Civic Engagement Resources to find resources for voting, research ballot issues and candidates, learn about the legislative process, and engage in advocacy. 

In this off-year election you will have the opportunity to vote on three statewide ballot measures. You also might see local ballot measures and a chance to vote for school board or municipal candidates. While The Foundation cannot and does not take positions on candidates for public, elected office we do take positions on ballot measures. 

Public policy is a powerful tool for change. Through a nonpartisan and gender-focused approach to public policy, we used the following criteria to take positions on the three statewide ballot measures facing voters this November:

  • Does it address root causes of poverty and promote economic security?
  • Does it improve Colorado’s tax and budget policies to allow for sufficient resources to be dedicated to WFCO priorities?
  • Does it promote and protect issues and rights aligned with the core values of WFCO?

Amendment 78 and Proposition 120

Amendment 78 – Legislative Authority for Spending State Money & Proposition – needs 55% vote to pass. Proposition 120 – Property Tax Assessment Rate Reduction – needs simple majority to pass.

WFCO position: Oppose

WFCO reasoning: As a part of WFCO’s current strategic framework, WFCO is committed to redistributing resources to ensure gender, racial, and economic equity. Accordingly, WFCO continually elevates the policy priority of improving Colorado’s tax and budget policies to allow for sufficient resources to be dedicated to WFCO priorities. Finally, and arguably the most important, our grantee partners advise WFCO to use our policy and advocacy resources to reform our state’s fiscal system. Both Amendment 78 and Proposition 120 are in direct opposition to WFCO’s guiding principles and the desires of some of our nearest stakeholders. WFCO has taken similar opposition positions in the past on other fiscal measures that are out of alignment with the aforementioned values, priorities, and general framework.

Amendment 78: If passed, it would prohibit state agencies from spending money received for a particular purpose (aka custodial money) without direct allocation by the state legislature; require that the custodial money be deposited into a newly created fund and that interest earned on money in the fund be transferred to the state’s General Fund; and require that the state legislature allocate any spending from the new fund each year following a public hearing.

Proposition 120: If passed, 120 will lower the property tax assessment rates for multifamily housing and lodging properties; and allow the state to retain money above constitutional spending limits if it is used to fund existing property exemptions.

Proposition 119

Proposition 119 – Learning Enrichment and Academic Progress (LEAP) – needs simple majority to pass.

WFCO position: Neutral

WFCO reasoning: With the aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic still being felt throughout our economy, nowhere is that more clear than in the multi-faceted caregiving economy. Parents, in particular mothers and especially mothers of color, are struggling to support their school-going children while still working. Without a doubt, our society needs to prioritize providing dynamic supports to families so children and parents can thrive. This includes access to out-of-school activities. Far too often, families struggle to dedicate their finite resources to extracurricular activities such as sports, music, and art. 

While WFCO is supportive of resources going to families who need support for out-of-school-time, there needs to be a larger consideration for the entire tax system and a continued prioritization of systems that support working families, especially moms. This policy solution is creative and, assuming it is implemented in an equitable manner, will most likely help families and provide enriching opportunities for students. However, this ballot measure might not equitably support communities across our diverse state and there are several unknowns about the complex funding mechanisms.

This is a challenging position for WFCO. The overall aims of this ballot measure are in line with other key policy priorities; however, the nuances of the approach to funding, shifting resources from other education sources, and reliance on a “sin” tax lead us to the neutral position. 

Proposition 119: If passed, proposition 119 would fund a $150 million statewide effort to provide out-of-school time resources to Colorado families by raising the sales tax rate on recreational marijuana from 15% to 20%. The funds would be directed to a new state program called Learning Enrichment and Academic Progress (LEAP) that provides financial aid and support to eligible Colorado youth to access out-of-school learning and enrichment opportunities. Children between the ages of 5 and 17 who live in Colorado will be eligible to apply for the program with priority given to families at or below the federal poverty level followed by families with incomes up to twice the poverty level. In addition to the marijuana tax revenue, an estimated $20 million annually will come from the General Fund to support LEAP and another $20 million will be shifted from the State Land Trust, which funds public education, to support the program.

Groups in support of Proposition 119: Colorado Children’s Campaign, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Learning Opportunities for Colorado Kids (LEAP 4 CO)

Groups opposed to Proposition 119: 9to5 Colorado, Cannabis Community for Fairness and Safety, Coloradans Against School Vouchers, The Denver Post Editorial Board 

Other groups that are neutral on 119: Bell Policy Center, Colorado Education Association  

Civic engagement resources

Check out our Civic Engagement Resources to find resources for voting, research ballot issues and candidates, learn about the legislative process, and engage in advocacy. 

Other helpful reading: A voter guide for Denver voters on 13 local ballot measures, and a voter tracker by The Colorado Health Foundation for all Colorado voters.

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