Hey Farm Team, vote no on Amendments 40 and 42, but yes on Question 3c.

Not to tell you how to vote … but to tell you how to vote.

Question 3c is only for voters living in Lewis Palmer School District 38. It asks for taxes to be increased by the imposition of a mill levy not to exceed 1.0 mill during the 2007 tax collection year.

The money would be used for the capital construction needs of Monument Academy. The school is out of space.

So, how much would this cost a taxpayer who owns a $350,000 house? A measly $25 per year. This is not much to pay for a stronger school system.

I think a strong educational system is a driver of economic development. How many of you have tried to attract talent to your business? You can bet that one of the questions that any potential candidates are going ask will be about the strength of our school systems — especially if they have kids. The Lewis Palmer Board of Education unanimously approved the ballot question.

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Vote no on Amendment 42. This amendment would increase Colorado’s minimum wage to $6.85 an hour and also lock in annual increases.

I am not an evil tight wad who wants to lower compensation for our high school kids, but I see this as placing Colorado in a less-than competitive position when it comes to economic development.

I happen to agree with my colleague Chris Wood, one of the co-publishers of the Northern Colorado Business Report in Fort Collins. He brought up the following reasons for rejecting Amendment 42:

  • For Colorado to raise the minimum wage above the national minimum of $5.15 leaves the state the loser in competition for jobs with other states with a lower minimum wage.
  • Momentum is growing for congress itself to pass a hike in the minimum wage at the national level, obviating any need for a state measure.
  • Companies forced to pay a higher minimum wage — and to increase it annually — will cut workers to make up the difference, thereby hurting the economy.
  • Issues such as a minimum-wage hike should not be enshrined in the Colorado Constitution, making them very difficult to change.
  • State officials signed off on the language as a “single measure,” as required in the Colorado Constitution, but the language clearly asks voters to decide two separate questions: raising the minimum wage to $6.85 and locking the annual inflationary adjustments.

Wood goes on to comment that “Sloppy work produced Amendment 42. Let’s hope the voters do the right thing and discard the slop.”

Vote no on Amendment 40.

Amendment 40 is a constitutional measure that would limit the time Colorado appellate judges can serve our state.

A news release issued by Vote No 40, said that “For the first time in history, Govs. Owens, Romer, Lamm and Vanderhoof joined forces to defeat an initiative harmful to Colorado. Their goal: defeat Amendment 40, a measure that forces nearly half of Colorado’s appellate judges off the bench at the same time.

“Amendment 40 does nothing to enhance judicial accountability and would undermine judicial independence,” said Attorney General John Suthers. “If Amendment 40 passes, it will greatly impact the quality of our judicial system, resulting in fewer well-qualified lawyers seeking public service as judges.”

The way I see it, judicial turnover is likened to turnover in the business world. How much of the institutional history would be lost if you were to turn over 50 percent of your staff. How many other prospective employees would think twice about joining your company if they saw a 50 percent turnover rate?

Murray Weiner, the president of the El Paso County Bar Association wrote, “Experience counts, judging and lawyering are not the same thing. It takes time and experience for a trial judge to become comfortable and skilled in the role of a judge”.

All of this is going on while Colorado’s prisons are way overcrowded. Some things just don’t make much sense to me.

So there you have it, now you know how to vote. Oh, how could I forget Amendment 38? Absolutely no.

After all, since we are just the “thin skinned farm team” here in the Springs, I suppose Colorado Springs doesn’t matter to the rest of the state anyway.

Lon Matejczyk is publisher of the Colorado Springs Business Journal. He can be reached at Lon.Matejczyk@csbj.com or 329-5206.