State Senator Rollie Heath's Proposition 103, the $3 Billion, five-year tax increase on the ballot this November, is coming under a full frontal assault. Until now the supporters of the Proposition have been the only ones raising money, mailing propaganda (at taxpayers’ expense), and running a formal campaign. No longer.
Yesterday, Jon Caldara, the head of the Independence Institute filed a formal complaint with the Secretary of State's office over a signature gatherer's lying about the initiative caught on tape. Today, the group opposing the tax hike called Save Colorado Jobs, headed by former state Rep. Victor Mitchell, announced its first press conference scheduled for tomorrow at the Capitol (full release after the jump).
The Denver Post's Tim Hoover reports today on Caldara's complaint over an incident we covered last month:
The complaint, filed by Jon Caldara, president of the libertarian-conservative Independence Institute, cites a video in which a signature gatherer for the initiative says — among other things — that the ballot measure would not raise taxes. The undercover video was shot on the 16th Street Mall by conservative blogger Kelly Maher.
…In the video, Maher says, "I think funding for schools is really important. But will it raise taxes?" To which the circulator replies, "No, it won't raise taxes. That's what we're trying to make sure that they don't do."
The complaint cites a section of law that says, "If a circulator is found to have violated any provision of this article or is otherwise shown to have made false or misleading statements relating to his or her section of the petition, such section of the petition shall be deemed void."
While the law is somewhat vague on the legality of petition circulators lying to citizens, the complaint will cause both PR and legal bill headaches for Rollie Heath and supporters of Prop 103.
Rollie Heath doesn't seem to think he is responsible for what people were told about the initiative by his paid signature gatherers:
Heath said he had not seen the complaint and could not comment on it, but he added, "When you rely on volunteers and paid circulators, you have no idea what they're saying."
While Heath may think he can brush off the complaint, he is about to see a full frontal assault from a group opposed to the initiative that he can't ignore — a group that we hear won't lack for resources.
Prop 103 has already been shown in polling to be destined for failure. Even with an 8 point oversampling of Democrats, Public Policy Polling found the initiative starting off under water at a 45/47 support/oppose. Initiatives almost always drop from where their approval starts once opposition campaigns kick off.
As we said when this initiative first began, all opponents need to defeat it is a one-sentence argument almost as good as the proponents, not even necessarily better, just strong enough to create doubt.
The study by Dr. Eric Fruits of Portland State University showing the initiative could kill as many as 119,700 jobs in Colorado is just that one-sentence argument.
It's an initiative killing argument and it's bothered the tax loving liberals over at ColoradoPols so much that they've written no less than three posts about it.
Consider today the kick off to killing Prop 103.
SAVE COLORADO JOBS MEDIA ADVISORY
For Release on: 9/12/2011
Contact: Adam Johnson
720-222-2654 or 303-960-6736
Save Colorado Jobs Issue Committee Media Briefing
What: The Save Colorado Jobs Issue Committee, headed by former State Representative Victor Mitchell, will hold a Press Conference on Thursday September 15, 2011 to discuss the opposition to the Colorado Ballot Measure Proposition 103. Accompanying former Representative Mitchell will be:
State Representative Jim Kerr (R- HD 28)
State Representative David Balmer (R-HD 39)
State Senator Bill Cadman (R-SD 10)
Former Representative Victor Mitchell, and the Save Colorado Jobs Issue Committee will discuss how this proposition will not only slow an already anemic economic recovery in Colorado, but how this measure will also deplete Colorado’s job market by an alarming 119k jobs over its 5 year inception. We encourage all media outlets to attend.
When: September 15, 2011
3rd Floor Press Room
Colorado State Capitol
Denver, CO 80203
For more information about the Save Colorado Jobs Issue Committee visit www.SaveColoradoJobs.org.