Colorado voters overwhelmingly rejected three tax-cutting measures Tuesday, leading to a collective sigh of relief among government officials across the state who feared the passage of Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101 could have meant financial doom.
"Every local government and state government would have been reeling from the passage of those" measures, Boulder City Manager Jane Brautigam said. "It really would have been devastating to our community."
At 11 p.m., it appeared that all three measures would be defeated by wide margins.
Proposition 101, a statutory change that would reduce vehicle taxes and fees and state income taxes, as well as eliminate telecommunication taxes, was failing statewide, with 68 percent of voters opposed.
Amendment 60, which would change the state constitution to require voters to approve all property-tax increases and would limit any new increases in property taxes to 10 years, was failing statewide, with 76 percent opposed.
Amendment 61 was another proposed constitutional amendment, which would prohibit the state from borrowing money and would place new restrictions on all types of borrowing for local governments. It was failing, with 73 percent opposed statewide.
Boulder County voters rejected the measures even more forcefully. Amendment 60 was being opposed by 81 percent of Boulder County voters, Amendment 61 was opposed by 79 percent, and Proposition 101 was opposed by 76 percent.
"They just had to be stopped," Boulder City Councilman Matt Appelbaum said. "It would have destroyed us. It would have bankrupted the state."
Combined, the effects of the three measures on Boulder's budget were estimated to be between $26 million and $54 million within the next four years. That possibility prompted the city manager to draft a detailed contingency plan for where those cuts would come from.
Now, the city won't have to worry about making what would have likely been drastic -- and politically difficult -- cuts to services, programs and employees.
"We don't have to adjust our current budget at all," said a visibly giddy City Councilwoman Lisa Morzel, who joined with other Boulder and Boulder County officials at a celebration party in downtown Boulder.
Mark Swanson, a Superior Democrat, said he voted against the measures and is glad so many others did, too.
"At some point, I think people have made a very common-sense judgment that some taxes are good taxes," he said.
Contact Camera staff writer Heath Urie at 303-473-1328, or firstname.lastname@example.org.