Plenty of attention has been paid to the millions donated by energy companies to stop Proposition 112, which would mandate 2,500-foot setbacks between new oil and gas developments and homes, schools and more.
But additional millions are pouring into efforts to pass Proposition 110, also known as Let's Go Colorado, a .62 percent sales-tax increase intended to generate billions for new road projects in Colorado during the years to come. And many of the biggest donors are construction companies, real estate firms and other organizations that would directly benefit from a transportation-related building boom.
At this writing, the total donations from six entities that fit this description exceed $4 million, not counting $450,000 cumulatively put toward 110 by the Downtown Denver Partnership ($100,000), Visit Denver ($100,000) and the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce ($250,000).
Raising questions about the outlay is Taxpayer's Bill of Rights author Douglas Bruce, who urged voters to reject Prop 110 as part of his recent voters' guide. In an article on his 13issues.com website, he characterizes the measure as a "boondoggle bonanza" — though he also encourages a "no" vote on a rival offering, Proposition 109, or Fix Our Damn Roads.
Coloradans for Coloradans, the main fundraiser for Proposition 110, has a clear antipathy for Fix Our Damn Roads, too. Its purpose, as listed on the Colorado Secretary of State's website, is to "support passage of a sales tax increase on the November 2018 ballot to fund transportation in Colorado (Proposition 110) and oppose such proposals that do not identify funding sources (Proposition 109)."
The Secretary of State's Office calculates that Coloradans for Coloradans has raised $6,846,676 since the beginning of 2018. And nearly two-thirds comes from the aforementioned six sources.
First up is an entity generically labeled the Colorado Construction Industry. CCI has contributed to state issues since at least 2012, but the amounts have typically been fairly modest — under $10,000, in most cases through 2017.
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But that changed this year. The outfit made ten different donations to Coloradans for Coloradans between February 2 and October 23, with the dollar amounts reaching a substantial level over the months. On August 20, CCI ponied up $1.5 million. September 27 brought another $303,500. And on October 4, $500,000 figuratively landed in Prop 110's account.
These transactions add up to $3,546,500.
Also demonstrating their generosity have been Nebraska contractor Kiewit Infrastructure ($150,000), Denver's Associated General Contractors ($102,500), the American Council of Engineering Companies ($80,000) and Florida's Cemex Materials LLC ($75,000). Add in the $354,000 presented by Chicago's National Association of Realtors and the CCI bucks, and the total hits $4,308,000.
These firms will learn if they got their money's worth on Election Day, November 6.