Commentary

Op-Ed: Five Reasons to Vote "No" on Prop 119

The marijuana industry isn't happy with Prop 119, and sections of the education community haven't bought in, either.
The marijuana industry isn't happy with Prop 119, and sections of the education community haven't bought in, either. Unsplash/CDC
If it’s too good to be true, it’s too good to be true!

While there are many reasons to vote "no" on Proposition 119: LEAP, the new state retail marijuana tax “for the children,” the five top reasons to vote "no" are that Prop 119: is totally antithetical to the American idea of representative government; is an unaccountable gravy train for cronies; provides significant opportunities for financial graft, paybacks and corruption; will possibly increase crime in our communities; and takes away your future Prop 119 tax refunds forever.

Prop 119 is not just the question that you see on your ballot. It is a fourteen-page document that lays the groundwork for a bureaucratic authority, governed by a nine-member authority board, appointed by this governor. The authority board would choose their own replacements, have taxing powers, and select the after-school vendors available to families to “choose” from.

It is a downright mistruth that Prop 119 leads to school choice and vouchers. At the top of page three of the fourteen-page document, it specifically says that Prop 119 money “does not include payment of school tuition.” Families can only choose from the menu of vendors offered by the authority. This authority board is not accountable to the voters, nor the state legislature, nor future governors, nor the state board of education. Prop 119 is totally antithetical to the American idea of representative government.
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Radio host Kim Monson is voting against Prop 119.
Courtesy of Kim Monson

Prop 119 is an unaccountable gravy train for cronies. Per the fourteen-page Prop 119 document, revenue is estimated to be $137,000,000 by 2024. The authority can shave 10 percent off the top for administrative expenses. The vendors that are selected by the board do not have a cap on the amount they can charge for administrative expenses. The lack of transparency of Prop 119 funds provides significant opportunity for PBIs (Politicians, Bureaucrats and Interested Parties) to pad their pockets, with little oversight.

Prop 119 provides significant opportunities for financial graft, paybacks and corruption. Page eleven of the fourteen-page Prop 119 document notes that “the authority may seek, accept, and expend any gifts, grants, donations, loans of funds, property, or any other revenue or aid in any form from the federal government, the state, any state agency, any other public source, any private source, or any combination thereof…” This opens the opportunity for groups and individuals to influence the authority board on curriculum and/or the selection of vendors.

Marijuana users are rational, economic actors. If the price of legal retail marijuana gets too high, many users will move their purchases to the less regulated and less expensive illegal market potentially increasing crime in our communities. Berkeley, California, experienced this. A Calmarijuana article published in 2018 reported that “high taxes on cannabis products in Berkeley are believed to have been pushing consumers into the black market. On February 13, the city responded by halving its marijuana business license tax to 5 percent.”

Lastly, the final two paragraphs of the fourteen-page Prop 119 document would de-TABOR (Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights in the Colorado Constitution) future revenue, thereby denying you of your TABOR tax refunds on future excess revenue forever.

On November 2, take a stand against cronies. Be sure to vote, and vote "no" on Prop 119!

Kim Monson is the host of two conservative radio shows in Colorado, The Kim Monson Show and America’s Veteran’s Stories, broadcast on KLZ 560 AM and KLZ 100.7 FM.

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