Denver Coloradans were on the way to shooting down three tax-slashing ballot measures Tuesday night, with initial returns showing each of the measures facing defeat.
With 48 percent of the vote reported, Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 were failing:
■ Amendment 60: 24.3 percent yes to 75.6 percent no.
■ Amendment 61: 26.5 percent yes to 73.4 percent no.
■ Proposition 101: 31.7 percent yes to 68.2 percent no.
“That’s a huge, huge sigh of relief,” South Routt School District Superintendent Scott Mader said. “When those ballot initiatives came out, quite frankly, we were fearful. That would have made a huge, huge difference with how we deal with students. I don’t know how we would have weathered that storm.”
“Services we have for students wouldn’t be there anymore,” he said. “A lot of time and energy we spend educating students would have been spent on finding money for the district.”
A bipartisan coalition of elected officials joined to oppose the three measures, which opponents dubbed “The Ugly Three.”
“Coloradans have sent a decisive message tonight that they won’t tolerate extreme proposals,” said Dan Hopkins, spokesman for Coloradans for Responsible Reform, the coalition of business groups, organized labor and nonprofits that opposed the three measures.
“People from different walks of life and different political persuasions put down their differences and all came together to defeat three really bad ideas,” Hopkins said.
Opponents raised more than $6.8 million to fight the three measures, while proponents raised about $33,000.
No group filed campaign-finance reports to document what had been spent to put the measures on the ballot, but a variety of documents and court testimony indicated anti-tax crusader Douglas Bruce was heavily involved in the effort, despite his public statements to the contrary.
“We tried to bring moderate tax relief to citizens and protect our children from excessive government debt,” said Natalie Menten, coordinator for CO Tax Reforms, the official issue committee for the measures, in a statement.
“Facing over $7 million from special-interest opposition groups using scare tactics compared to our low-budget campaign which spread the truth but didn’t have funds for commercials, we did the best we could,” Menten said.
Amendment 60 would have reversed a 2007 “mill-levy freeze” that kept property-tax rates from going down and would have reversed elections across the state where voters opted out of revenue limits imposed under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
Amendment 61 would have prohibited the state from any kind of borrowing and would have limited local governments to borrowing for only 10 years — and only with voter approval.
Proposition 101 would have reversed 2009 lawmaker-approved increases in auto-registration fees and taken them down to $10 a year, and it would have phased in a decrease in the specific ownership tax for cars.
Proposition 101 also would have eliminated all non-911 service-related fees and taxes on phones and all fees on pager, cable, satellite and Internet services.