After four months, 30 meetings and thousands of comments, the nonpartisan group Building a Better Colorado believes it has found consensus in Colorado.
The group says participants overwhelmingly support changing the state’s fiscal climate, encouraging more people to vote and making it harder to amend the state’s Constitution.
The nonprofit organization wants to place an initiative on the November ballot removing the revenue limits that trigger the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights refund. The group also wants to require more signatures from a greater geographical region to put constitutional amendments on the ballot. And they’re looking at ways to include the state’s 1 million unaffiliated voters to participate in elections.
These are major changes to the way the state does business — and it won’t be easy to make them a reality.
But to Building a Better Colorado, it boils down to a single, fundamental question: What kind of government do voters want?
And while it achieved consensus in meetings throughout the state, the group acknowledges that change will require more than meetings and verbal agreements. It will require a major effort — other organizations to carry proposals through to their conclusion.
More than 2,000 people attended the meetings, but there are thousands more Coloradans who believe the state doesn’t really have a budget problem, that the process to change the constitution is fine the way it is, and that voters should choose a party if they want to be a part of the caucus or primary system.
According to the group, Coloradans support allowing the state to retain revenue beyond current limits during times of economic growth — but tax increases must still only come with voter approval. And any additional money should go to the state’s priority needs: education, transportation, mental health and long-term care for seniors.
Most participants also want to do away with caucusing and reinstate a presidential primary. They want primary elections to include more than 1 million unaffiliated voters.
And while they support allowing residents to start initiatives, they think amendments to the state’s foundational governing document should be passed with more than a simple majority — and more Coloradans from across the state should be involved in developing proposed constitutional changes.
That falls in line with the consensus from the Colorado Springs meeting last fall. More than 100 local leaders met with Building a Better Colorado at The Broadmoor to discuss the issues.
So what’s next? It’s time for the rest of us to advocate for the necessary and important changes needed to make Colorado more successful.
The next steps are clear: To get the proposals on the ballot for November.
It’s no small effort — about 28,000 signatures will be needed — and TABOR in particular has its staunch supporters. But the effort is vital to the state’s business climate. Without it, Colorado will be unable to meet its educational and transportation goals to remain economically viable, thousands will continue to be disenfranchised during elections and the Colorado Constitution grows thicker every year with laws that are better in the state code than embedded in its Constitution.
What happens next is up to all of us — but the folks at Building a Better Colorado have built a firm foundation to start.