Proposition 103's education tax, Initiative 300's paid sick leave fail amid economic worries

In the run-up to yesterday's election, Rollie Heath, chief backer of the Proposition 103 education tax, told us the vote would be "very, very close."

But it wasn't -- and its statewide defeat was joined in misery by Initiative 300, which would have mandated paid sick days in Denver.

At this writing, with 98 percent of precincts reporting, Proposition 103 is on the short end of the stick by an approximate 63.6 percent to 36.3 percent measure. And the numbers on Initiative 300 are equally dismal. That amount stands at 64.5 percent against to 35.4 percent in favor.

The No on 300 campaign didn't wait long to declare victory, sending out its press release on the subject at 7:34 p.m. last night, with Tami Door, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership, praising Mayor Michael Hancock for not only opposing the measure, but starring in the main TV ad against it. In a statement, Door said, "Mayor Hancock has proven that his support for small businesses goes far beyond lip service. He showed courage and leadership critical to protecting Denver's economy in this difficult time. Mayor Hancock's commitment to making Denver the small- and start up-business capitol of the nation was clear during this efforts to protect our economy on this campaign."

Of course, pro-300 forces insisted that the measure wasn't a job killer and would actually help businesses by reducing the number of illnesses capable of taking down an entire staff. But in this economy, neither that message nor Heath's plaintive cries on behalf of struggling school districts, some of which are only holding classes four days per week due in large part to budget constraints, resonated with enough voters to win the day.

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More from our Politics archive: "Denver Paid Sick Leave Initiative: Opponents rally to support Denver's hospitality industry."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
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