Realtor group joins campaign in opposition to ballot issues

Three measures on the November ballot in Colorado have drawn the ire of a group that has a vested interest in brisk real estate sales activity.

The Colorado Association of Realtors is joining a campaign opposing Proposition 101, Amendment 60 and Amendment 61.

The campaign is spearheaded by an organization called Coloradans for Responsible Reform, which is urging the Grand Junction Area Realtor Association (GJARA) to join the effort.

“I haven’t studied it in depth,” said Lois Dunn, governmental affairs representative for GJARA.

Dunn said the measures would affect the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority and home loans. And she anticipates the commercial real estate industry also would experience effects. “The way it would affect commercial is with bonding.”

Such effects could come as a result of Amendment 61, which would require voter approval for government bonding and lease-purchase arrangements.

A recent example in the Grand Valley is a bond issue to finance replacement of water and sewer lines in Grand Junction, which city administrators were able to accomplish with approval from city council, but not voters.

Currently, voter approval is required only for tax increases under the Taxpayers Bill of Rights constitutional amendment.

In addition to voter approval for borrowing, governments would face limits on how much they could borrow.

Amendment 60 calls for changes which could further stretch the state budget, according to opposition campaign literature. The amendment calls for a 50 percent reduction in school district mill levies, with the state required to fund the shortfall. The result could be a further decrease in state-funded construction projects in Colorado.

Proposition 101 calls for an eventual reduction in the state income tax rate from 4.63 percent to 3.5 percent, elimination of the specific ownership tax on vehicles and reduction of vehicle registration fees to $10.

Literature endorsed by the statewide Realtor group says the income tax cut would decrease state revenue by $1.2 billion a year. The literature states that elimination of the specific ownership tax on vehicles would cost schools $500 million a year and the reduced vehicle registration fee would mean a $375 million cut for local road and bridge funds.

Supporters of the ballot measures say the proposals would force state and local governments to run on tighter budgets and spend funds more efficiently.