GUEST COLUMN: Two ballot issues could negatively impact the community
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Arizona State's Kalen Ballage (7) celebrates a touchdown against Texas Tech with Sam Jones, right, during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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Colorado Springs Forward is a broad-based alliance of people and organizations that care deeply and are committed to the success of the Pikes Peak region. We are business owners, job creators and citizens who are investing time, energy and resources to protect and enhance the business climate and quality of life throughout the region.

Colorado Springs Forward has and will continue to engage in local and state candidate elections, local policy development and community initiatives.

We are looking for people in leadership who understand free enterprise and the importance of sound, consistent, business-friendly policies. We are looking for projects that will support and enhance innovation, workforce attraction and primary employers.

We believe in community and the assets and amenities that make this an extraordinary home to all of us as we seek to protect our infrastructure and quality of life for generations to come.

Since the founding of Colorado Springs Forward three years ago, we have compiled an impressive list of successes. With the goal of making our local politics more functional and effective and improving our business climate, we have shown our ability to bring a new level of involvement and influence to priority community issues.

Looking to the statewide election ballot this November, we wish to draw attention to two significant issues. We strongly believe that both will bring long-term, overwhelmingly negative impacts to our state and local communities.

Amendment 69 will bring single-payer health care to Colorado, at a tremendous cost. Amendment 69 would levy unprecedented new taxes on every business, worker, senior and veteran in our state as well as on pension and annuity income, to fund a $25 billion per year new governmental entity. This amount doubles the current annual state budget. These new payroll and investment taxes, over 10 percent shared by employers and employees, would give Colorado the highest state taxes in the nation.

As if these facts are not concerning enough, Amendment 69 will be embedded in the Colorado Constitution, where it will be nearly impossible to change. It is murky on details as to how current health plans would be integrated, if they could be integrated, and it leaves major details to be defined later by a newly organized 21-member panel empowered to dictate Colorado's health care system.

Essentially, Amendment 69 takes health care decisions from you, the individual, and replaces them with a government panel, beckoning us to "trust them" with the fine print later.

We don't believe in single-payer, government-run health care, a 100 percent Colorado state budget increase or a new bureaucracy that will take away your control over yourselves, your employees and your families. This does not make sense for Colorado or Colorado Springs, and we will be working to vigorously oppose this ill-conceived amendment. We hope you will join us.

The second dangerous issue coming to your ballot this fall is Amendment 70, the state minimum wage increase. This would once again amend our state constitution. If this passes, beginning in January next year, Colorado's minimum wage would increase from $8.31 to $9.30 per hour and increase 90 cents each year until reaching $12 per hour in 2020. After 2020, annual cost of living increases would occur based on the Consumer Price Index for Colorado.

Based primarily on a fairness argument, the supporters of this initiative ignore numerous economic realities.

According to Keep Colorado Working, a recent independent study found that Amendment 70 would reduce Colorado employment by 90,000 jobs by 2022 and depress wages in the state by $3.9 billion annually. It would have an even more outsized impact on teenage employment, reducing it by 10,500 jobs by 2022, depriving many young Coloradans of early job opportunities and the ability to save for college. Please join us in opposing this controversial and job-killing initiative as well.

You will be hearing more from Colorado Springs Forward in the weeks ahead. We will take positions and be involved in issues that matter to our community, and we hope you will learn more about these measures and Colorado Springs Forward by visiting our website at www.coloradospringsforward.org. There you may sign up to receive our email newsletters, become a supporter and stay informed.

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Editor's note: Members of Colorado Springs Forward include: Amy Lathen (executive director), Lynette Crow-Iverson (chairman of the board), Phil Lane, Kathy Loo, Douglas Stimple, Tom Neppl, Steve Bartolin, Dan Stuart and Jim Johnson.

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