Budget Home Center An evening to remember Yes on Referendum I

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Daily Times-Call Election Editorials

Publish Date: 10/12/2006

A guide to voting on ballot measures

Approve provisions of Referendum F

Voters would be well advised to approve Referendum F, which removes from the state Constitution certain deadlines for recalls.

This particular measure referred by the state Legislature to voters is a bit on the technical side. But the end result of approval makes sense for the state.

For the past 93 years, recall petition deadlines have been part of the Constitution. While those deadlines made sense then, they don’t always make sense now. This measure removes the deadlines from the Constitution and instructs the Legislature to write the deadlines into state law, where they are easier to change as conditions warrant.

Approve elimination of obsolete provisions

Like the attic of an old family home, the state Constitution collects stuff.

And like an old attic, some of the material collected has value, and some does not.

Referendum G asks voters to eliminate obsolete provisions of the Constitution. Among the provisions that would be scrapped include deadlines from the 1950s that have already passed and an amendment that set up a temporary school board for Denver in 1901.

Voting in favor of this referendum is a harmless act that helps to tidy up the state’s constitutional attic.

Vote for Referendum H, or not

In the frantic special legislative session to address immigration concerns, legislators determined that voters should assess a tax penalty on businesses that hire illegal immigrants.

While in principle the measure sounds tough but fair, it actually does very little.

Colorado income tax law is contingent upon federal tax filings. On federal returns, businesses are permitted to count payroll as legitimate business expenses, and thus reduce taxable income. The state then captures that information for its tax filings.

However, federal tax law makes no distinction between the hiring of legal or illegal immigrants. So wages to illegal immigrants are counted just like wages to citizens or legal immigrants.

Referendum H would require businesses who knowingly hire illegal immigrants to declare what was paid to them so that the state can exclude what was paid to them from what otherwise would be a legitimate business expense.

In principle, that’s fine. But which among the state’s businesses, in today’s superheated immigration climate, are going to declare that they knowingly hired illegal immigrants?

A tax that can’t reasonably be collected is probably not worth putting into law, but if voters want to make a political statement, then they should pass Referendum H.

Referendum K tilts at windmills

In the literary classic “Don Quixote,” the novel’s central character is unable to see clearly and thus attempts to battle windmills that he mistakes for enemy knights.

Referendum K is like that.

Legislators, particularly those up for election this fall, wanted voters to think that they were making progress against illegal immigration. So they passed Ref. K, which asks voters to instruct the attorney general to file a suit against the federal government to force the feds to enforce existing federal immigration laws.

While it is possible for states to force the federal government to enforce laws on the books, several states have tried in the area of immigration to do what Referendum K would require of the attorney general. And they’ve failed.

Passing Referendum K would result in a lawsuit that will cost the state upward of $190,000, and in the end the windmill will still be standing.

Far better that voters elect Congressional representatives who have better eyesight and who have the will to solve the immigration issue at the federal level.

Voters will unnecessarily spend state tax dollars if they pass Referendum K.

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