The Home Front: How your vote affects your wallet, oil and gas backs Raise the Bar, budget cuts and more
How will your vote in this year’s Colorado elections affect your wallet? The Coloradoan newspaper in Fort Collins offers some service journalism for local readers about ballot questions this morning. The piece covers the ColoradoCare universal healthcare ballot measure, local sales tax proposals, and a cigarette tax question. “The impact of passing all the measures on this year’s ballot on an individual’s tax burden would depend largely on their situation. How much do they pay for health insurance? How much money do they spend on shopping and groceries? Do they smoke? If there’s such thing as a completely “average” Fort Collins resident, that person would see their tax burden increase by $366.71 per year if each of these measures passed, most of that impact coming from the payroll tax to support ColoradoCare. That ‘average’ person’s tax burden would climb to more than $1,000 per year if that person had a pack-a-day smoking habit.”
The Loveland Reporter-Herald today fronts an AP story about a Colorado Public Radio story showing the oil and gas industry is shifting cash to fund a ballot measure to amend the constitution that would make it harder to pass ballot measures to amend the constitution. “Protecting Colorado’s Environment, Economy and Energy Independence, a committee primarily funded by Anadarko Petroleum and Noble Energy, has shifted its immense resources to support Amendment 71. That measure would make it more difficult to amend the constitution, which, if passed, would benefit the drillers by making it harder to pass future fracking restrictions.”
State lawmakers, in the off season, are looking to trim the state budget after seeing not-so-rosey revenue projections, The Durango Herald is reporting today. “The current $25.8 billion budget, which runs through June 2017, is between $227 million and $330 million below what’s needed to fund the budget and a 6.5 percent reserve, depending on which forecast lawmakers look at. The governor’s office projected the lower deficit, while legislative staff predicted the higher shortfall. Lawmakers were surprised to learn in May that the state owed refunds to the oil and gas industry, stemming from a Colorado Supreme Court decision that found the state owed tens of millions of dollars after it incorrectly disallowed a deduction related to transportation, manufacturing and processing costs. The obligation has contributed to the shortfall.”
“Despite months of a downturn in the oil and gas industry, the Weld County unemployment rate has remained steady through another month, which could indicate the worst is over, according to the state Department of Colorado Department of Labor and Employment’s chief economist,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “The unemployment rate in the Greeley Metropolitan Statistical Area — or Weld County — dropped in August by two tenths of a percentage point to 3.5 percent, said Chief Economist Alexandra Hall. The oil and gas industry, which is reported as part of the mining, logging and construction sector, has lost thousands of jobs since the downturn in 2014, but Hall said the state economy is continuing to assist in Greeley’s continued stability.”
Student growth data looks promising in the coverage area of The Glenwood Spring Post-Independent. “Data from the new assessments, which measure a student’s performance over time and in peer subgroups, rather than grade-level test scores that provide a snapshot in time, is also more useful in helping students continue to improve or to catch up, local school district officials said.”
An overturned tanker spilled nonhazardous “sludge” on a road between Longmont and Boulder yesterday, reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Trooper Nate Reid said that the tanker contained sludge from a waste treatment plant, and the remaining sludge had to be removed from the tanker and the tanker righted before the road could reopen.”
“Health insurance premiums on Colorado’s individual market for 2017 will be about 20 percent higher than those from this year, but not everyone will have to pay so much,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “That large increase applies only to individuals who get their insurance through the state’s health care exchange — known as Connect For Health Colorado — who don’t qualify for federal tax credits, according to the Colorado Division of Insurance.”
“More than 60 percent of Pueblo residents still say bad streets and potholes are their major source of dissatisfaction with city government, although crime and police effectiveness come in second,” according to today’s edition of The Pueblo Chieftain. “Those results are in the 2016 city survey given to City Council this week — the third time council has polled residents on major issues since 2010.”
Boulder City Council will debate three options for raising fees to pay for affordable housing, reports The Daily Camera.
A Colorado veteran’s suicide has prompted a call for an investigation into wait times at the VA, The Denver Post’s Washington, D.C. reporter writes. “The request, by Republican U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, also asks that an internal watchdog at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs examine allegations that VA officials forged documents after the service member’s death and then threatened a whistle-blower who raised these issues with authorities, according to a letter dated Monday.”
The latest on staffing shortages at the Colorado Springs Police Department, per The Gazette: “Colorado Springs police officers will soon make fewer house calls.” Residents should report minor crimes online.
Denverite reports a church is trying to build a tiny village for homeless people near downtown Denver.