Opinion | Susan Knopf: Your election run-down

The most important items on your ballot are at the bottom. You save money and enhance the quality of life in your community by not having tax money returned to you. Let’s start with the issues. The candidates will be in an upcoming column.

Proposition CC: yes 

Retain state government revenue for schools, higher education, roads, bridges and transit.

We already paid the money. It costs money to collect taxes. It costs money to return tax money. Wouldn’t you rather spend our money on better schools, better roads, higher education and transit? I would! Colorado Department of Transportation has millions of dollars in projects deferred for lack of funds. Check out the link online to see where your CDOT money goes.

Proposition DD: yes

Legalization and taxation of sports betting to fund water projects and obligations.

Proposition DD does three things: legalizes online and in-person sports betting, taxes sports betting and commits the tax revenue largely to water projects. It’s endorsed by agriculture associations and environmentalists. The tax doesn’t come from the bettor’s side. The tax is on the casino proceeds, which is different than the federal excise tax which comes off the top of the entire amount wagered. The Blue Book has a good explanatory graphic.

Bill Hudson, of the Pagosa Daily Post, asks in his editorial, “Will gambling addicts pay our water debts?” Yes and no. For the record, the National Council on Problem Gambling says a lot of people gamble but only about 2-3% can be called addicts. The council reports 85% of American adults have gambled at least once in their lifetimes, 65% in the past year.

According to the nonpartisan Legislative Council of the Colorado Assembly, the new tax is expected to generate $16 million and as much as $29 million per year. That would go a long way to helping fundColorado’s Water Plan. Advocates sayit willwork like the lottery pays forColorado parks and open space.

A tax on industry profit to pay for Colorado water seems good to me.

 Measure 1A: heck yes!

Authorizing a special sales tax on cigarettes, e-cigarettes and vaping products.

According to Tobacco Free Kids, citing a U.S. Surgeon General study, “increasing price is proven to reduce smoking, especially among kids.” That’s a good thing. The last time Colorado tried to pass a tobacco tax, Big Tobacco spent more than $18 million to defeat it. Don’t buy into their propaganda. Summit Daily News reporter Sawyer D’Argonne did a great story on this issue.

Measure 1B: yes (not a new tax)

Pays for open space, trails, natural areas and other purposes previously approved by tax payers.

You may not remember how Summit County looked before we had a great recreation path system, before the mining tailings in front of Breckenridge were cleaned up and the great linear park was created. I do. I’m really proud of what we’ve done. It still needs to be maintained, and we still need to do more. So yes!

Measure 4A: yes! (not a new tax)

Use current taxes allocated for full-day kindergarten to increase teacher pay, and enhance school counseling and mental health programs.

Thank you Gov. Jared Polis for allocating state funds to pay for full-day kindergarten. That frees up our local tax dollars for other important priorities: retaining our teachers and taking care of our students’ mental health needs, doing everything we can to prevent violent issues from occurring in our schools.

Colorado ranks 32nd in average teacher pay and lower than the national average, according to Education Week. We can fix that.

The most important thing is register and vote. Follow the online link to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. All you need is a Colorado driver’s license. If you don’t have one, there are other ways to establish your eligibility. It’s all explained clearly at the site.

This is a democracy. It only works if you participate. Educate yourself on the issues and vote. Or just use the rundown. Links to more information can be found in the online edition of this column.

More on candidates in two weeks. Check out the Summit Daily News’ online site for more information at

Susan Knopf’s column “For the Record” publishes biweekly on Fridays in the Summit Daily News. Knopf lives in Silverthorne. She is a certified ski instructor and an award-winning journalist. Contact her at

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