The Centennial Institute made its point of view clear on taxes and gambling Wednesday as it came out against Proposition CC and Proposition DD on the Nov. 5 ballot.
The conservative think tank is against taking away the occasional rebates granted by the Taxpayer's Bill or Rights, which is what Proposition CC aims to do to steer that money into K-12 schools, higher education and transportation.
Proposition DD would legalize sports betting with licensed casinos in Colorado by approving a tax on the profits.
“Colorado is more free, families are stronger, and our state budget is healthier if both Proposition CC and Proposition DD are rejected,” Jeff Hunt, the director of the Centennial Institute, said in a statement.
The Centennial Institute was founded in 2009 by Republican heavyweights John Andrews and the late former Sen. Bill Armstrong at Colorado Christian University and is best known for staging the Western Conservative Summit in Denver each summer.
Like other opponents, the institute said the state should prioritize education and transportation in its existing $32 billion budget.
"Every family in Colorado lives within a budget, so should the state of Colorado," the institute said in a press release Wednesday.
Proposition CC is backed by the Colorado Association of School Boards, Colorado PTA, Colorado State University and several other Colorado colleges, the League of Women Voters, the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Denver Partnership, among others.
"Due to limitations placed on the state budget because of the formulas in our Constitution, we continue to underfund critical areas like education and transportation," the Denver Metro Chamber said in endorsing CC. " ... Proposition CC permits the state to retain money it has already collected, without raising the tax rate, which will allow us to make much needed investments in education and transportation.
On Proposition DD, the organization also contends that "legalizing sports gambling damages the foundation of athletic competition and invites corruption. Every pitch, every shot, every swing, every score will be bet upon. It should be rejected."
Proposition DD would tax the profits to put money into the state's ambitious water plan to promote conservation and build infrastructure to accommodate dwindling supplies in the face of the state's growth.
“The most respected conservative leaders in Colorado not only support DD but they actually helped author it — conservatives like Patrick Neville, John Cooke, David Williams and West Slope water champion Marc Catlin,” Kate Roberts, a spokesperson for the Yes on DD campaign, said in a statement Wednesday evening. “And the reason all these conservatives back DD is simple — sports betting is already happening, we need to invest in water infrastructure to protect what’s ours from California and Arizona, and tax revenue from casinos is a better way to pay for critical water infrastructure than a tax on average citizens.”
The Colorado Farm Bureau, the most prominent agriculture advocacy organization in the state, also is backing Proposition DD.
"Most farmers and ranchers could care less about sports betting," Chad Vorthmann, the Colorado Farm Bureau's executive vice president. "But this is a smart way to pay for the critical water infrastructure that Colorado's future needs.”