A clear picture emerged of Colorado politics in Tuesday’s early election results, and the takeaway is threefold:
1. Voters remain fiscally conservative, regardless of a backlash vote against President Donald Trump that empowered far-left Democrats in 2018;
2. Voters do not trust state politicians to manage money, and;
3. Voters trust local politicians who keep promises and spell out their plans for spending hard-earned tax dollars.
No one should be significantly emboldened or discouraged by the left’s landslide victories in Colorado’s 2018 candidate elections. Just as they did in 2018, voters said “no” Tuesday to enriching and expanding state government.
Voters soundly rejected Proposition CC, an attempt to gut the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights — a law progressives cannot stomach. The measure, losing by 56% at press time, sought to eliminate the requirement for politicians to seek consent before keeping revenues that exceed a cap established by the law.
With the defeat of this attack on TABOR, politicians should respect the fact Colorado taxpayers love this protection — more than when they enacted it 27 years ago by 54%. Politicians should stop dreaming of a state without taxpayer protection. In Colorado, the government serves the governed and voters like it that way.
The solid defeat of Prop CC follows the 2018 trouncing of a proposal to raise taxes for roads and bridges the political class has neglected for decades with the belief potholes, congestion and traffic deaths would force voters to raise taxes.
While rejecting Prop CC, voters appeared on the verge of expressing an unlikely level of distrust in the state’s political class by also potentially defeating Proposition DD by a razor-thin margin.
The request to legalize, regulate and tax sports betting at casinos to fund state water projects should have been easy to pass. This is the type of tax increase voters would strongly approve if they trusted state government in the least. It would affect only a special niche of voters who choose to bet on sports at casinos. It is more like a fee than a tax. It was down by a margin of fewer than 1,000 votes at press time.
Meanwhile, it appeared Aurora voters would resoundingly elect former U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman as mayor. A conservative Republican rejected for reelection in the Aurora-centric, Trump-averse Sixth District in 2018, Coffman was winning by about 40% in a five-way race.
Just as statewide voters snubbed the state’s political class Tuesday, Colorado Springs showed trust in Mayor John Suthers and the City Council.
As of press time, 57% of Springs voters were passing measure 2B. It gives city government consent to retain surplus tax revenues for improvements to a list of specified parks, sports assets, cultural facilities and trails. Voters trusted city government by about 65% with the extension of sales tax measure 2C, which will continue repairs and improvements to a list of specified roads.
Though turned off by Trump, Colorado remains a state of fiscally conservative voters who do not trust the liberal governor and far-left Legislature with more money. They trust local governments with track records of promises kept. They want a state of, by and for the people — not politicians with an insatiable appetite for the public’s hard-earned money.