The Building a Better Colorado (BBC) project is a bi-partisan, bottom-up effort to address some of Colorado’s Constitutional challenges. BBC is aiming to put a few items on a ballot initiative for fall 2016. At this point, they are doing grassroots meetings around the state to inform citizens and to get citizen input on key issues. In that sense, it has a lot in common with TBD Colorado from a few years ago.
It is easy to criticize these slow-moving, bottom-up, citizen education efforts as a way to look like something real is happening, while not actually addressing the fundamental state fiscal issues. But, there is also a need to build support for change and to educate citizens about why, when our economy is booming, the state budget will have to be cut this year, with less money available for higher education and transportation, and no ability to reduce the past cuts to K12 funding.
In the details of this Denver Business Journal article, it was interesting to see that very large percentages of citizens, after talking about these issues, support taking the hospital provider fees out of the TABOR regulated portion of state government (which would put off TABOR-related tax refunds), making it necessary to get more citizen petition signatures to put issues on the ballot, and to take a timeout from TABOR refunds and/or to base future TABOR-related revenues on growth in the economy.
Hopefully these conversations will spur some new ideas and lay the groundwork for some smart proposals. In addition to key Presidential, U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress and state legislative races in Colorado in 2016, we should expect several ballot proposals, including single payer healthcare, perhaps some fracking issues, and others.