Opponents branded Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 as "The Terrible Three." Tuesday's results show that message stuck with voters.
11 News is told opponents to the measures collected around $6-million in campaign funds. Their goal: telling you these measures would be bad for Colorado and possibly bankrupt the state.
By contrast those seeking tax reform and tax relief had about $12,000 to spend and were pretty hidden, so a huge difference in the amount of financial support and the ability to spread their message.
Those pushing the three spending measures tell 11 News 140,000 people signed their petitions to get these issues on the ballot. But the numbers show even though most voters knew they would save hundreds of dollars, they thought the measures were too extreme- hurting schools and costing jobs.
Polling in the last few months reportedly showed Amendments 60 and 61 had 30% support. But we're told Proposition 101, which virtually would've eliminated the fees you pay to license cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, and RVs, had more than 50% support.
So opponents stepped up the attack, buying more television time and yard signs. Rallies were held against the issues. Attorney General John Suthers said the state's entire operating budget would have to be used to pay for K-12 education and nothing else.
Colorado Springs School District 20 held meetings telling parents that iIt would lose $35 million in local property tax revenue and more than $4 million in those license plate fees.
Pueblo County Commissioner Jeff Chostner told me the 60, 61 and 101 would've spelled catastrophe, with up to a 50% budget cut- meaning Pueblo County would only be able to pay for public health and safety, nothing else.
Tonight, local opponents to 60, 61, and 101 gathered downtown at Southside Johnny's to watch the results.
The President and CEO of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce told 11 News he believes voters were savvy enough to know that 60, 61, and 101 would hurt ... not help.
Dave Csintyan says, "I think the true story speaks to the job losses. We may have experienced 73,000. The teachers lost I believe that number was 8,000, and the list goes on and on. Our ability to bond to make sure we're securing our future with wise investments... looks like all of that will remain in play."
11 News talked to Natalie Menten, a Colorado small business owner who spearheaded the push for 60, 61, and 101. She said she knew it would be a David versus Goliath fight. She tells me tax reformers simply couldn't overcome the scare tactics used by their opponents. She called these issues "moderate tax measures," but most folks didn't buy that argument.