It’s not secret that Colorado has one of the most accessible ballots in the nation, which has led the state to become a petri dish of sorts for all kinds of wackadoo measures over the years. So anything we can do to give the voters more information and create more transparency is a good thing, right?
Almost every election cycle the business community is forced to pony up millions of dollars fighting initiatives that would devastate Colorado’s economy and drive jobs out of the state. In 2008, for example, the unions put a handful of so-called “poison pill amendments” on the ballot that were designed to punish local businesses unless they refused to support a Right to Work measure.
Ballot initiatives can be worded in a way that also sounds relatively benign but could wreak havoc on Colorado’s economy. Like last year’s proposed ballot measure requiring oil and gas wells to be 2,000 ft. away from any nearby structure. If passed, that initiative would have driven oil and gas operations out of the state along with the 105,000 jobs supported by the industry. But to the average voter 2,000 ft. might not sound like a big deal even though it is.
This void of information is too often filled with sound bites and talking points. In order to add a much need layer of transparency to our ballot process, a new bill would require the state to assign a fiscal impact statements to all citizen-generated initiatives. This would allow voters to see in black and white how much a ballot measure would cost before voting and actually make a relatively informed decision.
No brainer, right?
Well, the activists who keep littering our ballot with those wackadoo initiatives we mentioned don’t seem to like this idea one bit. They turned out, yesterday, in droves to oppose the measure. However, all their opposition is really doing is proving the point: we need this bill.
House Democrats ultimately postponed the legislation for a week before it could be voted on in committee. Let’s hope they don’t lose their nerve to pass it in the interim.