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Impact of undocumented Coloradans is documented in two new studies

Two studies released today indicate that 180,000 undocumented immigrants live in Colorado. They pay a combined $167.5 million in taxes each year and cost the state a combined $166.6 million in services according to a study by The Bell Policy Center.

Payday loan fee increase moves out of committee

Expressing concerns that loan sharks may become the new lenders for the poor, and saying they fear the loss of further jobs in a down economy, legislators Tuesday passed a bill to allow deferred deposit loan corporations to retain up-front fees.

Pay-go dies in Republican controlled committee

A Democratic move to bring pay-as-you-go legislation to the Colorado General Assembly died in a Republican controlled House Committee on Finance today, an outcome sponsor Rep. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Niwot, said was no surprise. The bill, HB 1052, died on a 6-6 vote.

Ferrandino weighs taking on payday loan industry in Colorado

The payday loan industry gouges Coloradans like it does Americans across the country, targeting mostly low-income single women, including military spouses. Denver Democratic state Rep. Mark Ferrandino tried and failed to introduce legislation in 2008 that would have curbed the worst of the abuses, where desperate borrowers take loans at hundreds of percent interest and enter a debt cycle they rarely are able to exit. Ferrandino may try it again this year.

Economic opportunity research center opposes Denver impound initiative

DENVER — On Thursday the Bell Policy Center, a research and advocacy organization based here that seeks to promote economic opportunity, added its voice to the rising tide of concerned politicians, safety workers, and activist groups opposing Ballot Initiative 300, Denver's so-called impound initiative, which would require police to seize the vehicles of any drivers failing to carry a valid license. Initiative 300 is an updated version of Initiative 100, which passed last year. According to Rich Jones, director of policy and research for the Bell Center, Initiative 300 is not only fiscally unsound but is racially motivated.

Payday lenders prep to battle reform in Colorado

Stung by losses in states that either refused to authorize its high-rate, short-term loans or moved to limit finance charges, the payday lending industry isn’t giving up without a fight. Its lobbyists are pressing hard in states where it sees opportunity to stave off reform, including Colorado, site of a major coming battle, where lenders are already making financial contributions to minority groups to win favor.

Tax protester slips stealth comments into Jeffco ballot measure booklet

An opponent of a school district mill levy increase slipped sarcastic arguments about retraining senior citizens to live in more "modest accommodations" and "progress toward the Socialist utopia" into an election notice sent by the Jefferson County clerk to every household in the county this week. UPDATE: The author of the ballot book comments responds and TABOR expert Wade Buchanan weighs in.

Amendment 58 won’t raise gas prices, report says

In spite of what oil and gas companies are saying, a 'yes' vote on Amendment 58 won't mean higher prices at the gas pump. According to a report issued yesterday by the Bell Policy Center, an economic research organization in Denver, gas prices are not directly determined by severance tax rates. Amendment 58 seeks to eliminate a tax benefit historically handed to the oil and gas industries in Colorado in order to recoup $300 million per year for schools, transportation and natural resource projects.

Schools asking for stop-gap funds, not improvements

Colorado voters will be asked to approve almost $2.5 billion in school bonds and mill levies this fall to shore up crumbling infrastructure, address safety issues posed by aging school buildings and cover the increasing costs of educating the state’s more than 800,000 students.

Colorado’s monster ballot longest in the nation

With a record 18 proposals on everything from oil and gas taxes to unions to the developmentally disabled to gambling, Colorado voters will be weighing in on the longest ballot in Colorado since 1912 — and the largest in the United States this year.