Last week, the Herald looked at ballot measures that will decide Colorado’s involvement in the national popular vote and the future of the gray wolf. Up this week are Proposition 115 and 116 — concerning abortion and state income tax.
Colorado does not currently prohibit abortion at any point during a pregnancy.
Prop. 115, a citizen initiative, seeks to amend Colorado statutes to ban abortion after 22 weeks of gestation, except when the life of the mother is at risk. The proposition does not include exceptions for psychological health, incest, rape or lethal fetal diagnoses.
If the measure passes, healthcare providers who performed a prohibited abortion could face criminal penalty and the suspension of a professional license for at least three years. The woman receiving the abortion would not be penalized.
The 22 week point of pregnancy often marks a point of “fetal viability,” where a fetus might be able to survive outside the womb. Abortions after this stage are relatively uncommon. According to studies conducted by the Guttmacher Institute and Centers for Disease Control in 2014 and 2015, about 1.3% of abortions in the United States took place after 21 weeks.
A “yes” vote on Prop. 115 is a vote to prohibit abortion in Colorado after 22 weeks. Supporters find the proposition to be a reasonable restriction, one that would protect human life.
A “no” vote on Prop. 115 is a vote to maintain the status quo — to allow abortions in Colorado at any point during pregnancy. Opponents assert that women, in consultation with their doctors, should make decisions about their bodies, not the government.
Prop. 116 will decide whether Colorado will permanently lower the state income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.55%.
Colorado’s constitution requires residents and corporations to pay income tax at a single rate — 4.63%. If the ballot measure is passed, a household with a taxable annual income of $25,000 would save $20 per year while a household with a taxable annual income of $1 million would save $800 per year.
Income tax is the state’s largest source of general fund revenue, money that funds public schools, Medicaid, human services and more. According to the Colorado General Assembly, Prop. 116 would reduce the state’s revenue by $154 million in budget year 2021-2022.
Prop. 116’s supporters will vote “yes” in hopes of reducing Colorado’s income tax rate. They believe the tax reduction will allow households and corporations to retain more money, dollars that will funnel back into the economy through spending and investment.
Prop. 116’s opponents will vote “no” in hopes of maintaining the state’s current income tax rate. Opponents believe Colorado’s budget and public services are already stretched thin during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that now is not the time to decrease the state’s revenue. Many also contend that the tax cut would disproportionately help the wealthy.
In other news, the Herald published the first segment of a two-part “Meet the Candidates Q&A” with Lake County’s commissioner candidates this week. The spread features Libertarian Hanna Waugh and Democrats Jeff Fiedler and Sarah Mudge. Republican Ezekiah Lujan refused to participate in the Q&A on the basis that the Herald is “biased and unprofessional.” The second segment of the Q&A will be published next week.