While political theatre plays out on the national stage, there are death threats to good policy going on out in the states. Well, in Colorado, to be exact. Here we have some very scary potential ballot issues brewing, and one is already on the ballot. We call them The Frightening Four because they guarantee bigger government, more taxes and less jobs. Things are so bad that if these issues pass, they will deal a death blow to our state.
It’s true. The Frightening Four would play out like a horror movie. Slashing healthcare through Amendment 69 would result in rationed care at an astronomical cost to taxpayers. Bailing out Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion by pausing TABOR for ten years would kill our taxpayer’s rights stone cold dead. Stealing our property rights through so-called ‘local control’ and ‘setbacks’ in oil and gas development would decimate the Colorado GDP and bury tens of thousands of jobs. And raising the minimum wage may sound good, but it will hang teen workers out to dry and reduce employment in Colorado by 3.3% within 6 years. Let’s take a closer look at these threats.
Amendment 69 increases taxes to pay for a centralized, government-run, single-payer healthcare. This would require doubling the state budget through a 10% increase on income tax. It is exempted from the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and a 21-member unaccountable board can vote for additional tax increases as they see fit. Amendment 69 promises VA, European-style long lines, lower quality and rationed care. Vermont serves as a good example of this death-dealing policy when they abandoned a similar plan due to a projected 151% tax increase.
The TABOR refund timeout measure would bail out Obamacare and take away our taxpayer rights for the next ten years. Due to electeds voting in Obamacare expansion, one fourth of Coloradans are now on Medicaid, straining services for those truly in need. Not only that, one third of the state budget is now allocated to healthcare. We’ve already tried ‘pausing TABOR’ with Referendum C. It resulted in increased taxes while state priorities – like expanding highways and fixing bridges – were ignored as entitlements grew unchecked.
Another potential measure would steal our property rights by requiring oil and gas drilling to be setback by 2,500 feet from occupied structures. Time out. This would make 90% of Colorado’s surface area off limits to future development. Such an action is expected to setback the Colorado economy by billions of dollars, and cripple the industry which directly employs 38,650 Coloradans and supports and additional 102,700 jobs.
Finally, a minimum wage increase may sound good but will actually decrease opportunity for those who need entry level jobs the most. If passed, this measure would raise minimum wage to $12 per hour, with no evidence that it reduces poverty. It would disproportionately hurt teens, likely resulting in 105,000 fewer jobs for these new workers. A study reveals raising the minimum wage would actually reduce employment in Colorado by 3.3% within 6 years and result in a loss of $3 billion in annual wages.
We all have lot on our minds on the national stage. And while we do, we must be ever vigilant about what is happening in the streets – or should I say, on the road to freedom – back home.
Tamra Farah is the communications director for Americans for Prosperity-Colorado.