PHOTOS BY KIKI KAUFFMAN
Elections were held this Tuesday, Nov. 5 and voters in El Paso County were pressed to elect new local officials and weigh-in on various tax propositions.
Residents of El Paso rejected most tax increase initiatives, including Amendment 66, a statewide proposal for a $950 million income tax growth to benefit Colorado schools.
This bill proposed an increase of the flat tax of 4.63 percent to a two-tier tax with the first $75,000 of citizen’s taxable income taxed at five percent and all income above taxed at 5.9 percent.
64 percent of the state voted against the bill with El Paso demonstrating an increased disapproval at 77 percent voting no.
Along with the vast dismissal of Amendment 66, voters in El Paso rejected the locally proposed $4.5 million tax increase to benefit the Lewis-Palmer school district.
However, residents of El Paso County and the state of Colorado did support increased taxes in the area of recreational marijuana sale.
Proposition AA was passed with 65 percent of voters in support of this proposal to implement a tax on all recreational marijuana sold. With a 10 percent sales tax and 15 percent excise tax, this bill will make marijuana one of the most heavily taxed consumer products in Colorado.
This tax is expected to generate around $67 million for the state in the upcoming year, which will be allocated to public school construction projects and marijuana regulation.
Along with the support of Proposition AA, Manitou Springs was one of 11 other cities to propose a local tax on recreation marijuana.
Roughly 67 percent of Manitou voters supported Issue 2A, a local bill that approves the sale and taxation of recreational marijuana at a 5 percent sales tax.
Additionally, Marc Snyder was uncontested and elected to serve another term as mayor of Manitou Springs and Gabriel Ortega was voted mayor of Fountain.
The remainder of El Paso’s ballot was comprised of candidates running for various school board and city council positions outside of Colorado Springs. In those elections, a mixed bag of re-elected incumbents and newcomers gained seats.
Despite it being an off-year election, voter turnout in El Paso reached around 37 percent with most voters opting for mail-in ballots.
Emilia Whitmer, Staff Writer