2022 Ballot Issue Positions
2022 Ballot Issue Positions
The Boulder Chamber is beginning to formulate its positions on the upcoming 2022 ballot measures. In particular, knowing there will be several tax increase initiatives coming before Boulder County voters this fall, the Boulder Chamber has carefully considered the issues through multiple lenses with the assistance of our Community Affairs Council and ultimate guidance from our Board of Directors. Below are some of the recent positions the Boulder Chamber will be taking on ballot initiatives this fall:
The Boulder Chamber and Boulder Transportation Connections Support the Boulder County Sales Tax Extension for Transportation
As the Boulder Chamber has emphasized through its Boulder Together program, improved regional mobility is critical to retaining and attracting a strong workforce for Boulder businesses. In keeping with that interest, the Boulder Chamber and Boulder Transportation Connections has been a strong advocate for investment in our transportation infrastructure and programs. We were pleased, therefore, to see that this message is resonating with voters, who signaled support for an extension of Boulder County’s dedicated transportation tax of .1%, which currently sunsets in 2024. This funding is critical to securing matching federal funding that will be used to improve our roadways, public transit, and multi-use paths. Our needs in the transportation arena are great, though, and far exceed the revenue that a 0.1% tax extension will generate. For that reason, the Boulder Chamber Community Affairs Council and Board of Directors both strongly support the sales tax extension, but also urge the Boulder County Commissioners to work with us to identify additional mobility investment resources.
To learn more about the Boulder County sales tax for transportation, read here: Bikeway improvements, connectivity top Boulder priorities for county transportation tax (dailycamera.com).
To read the Boulder Chamber letter of support for transportation funding read here: Chamber County Transportation Funding Proposal_SUPPORT
Boulder Chamber Speaks-Out on RTD’s System Optimization Plan
The Boulder Chamber and its transportation management organization, Boulder Transportation Connections, offered a mixed perspective on RTD’s system optimization plan (SOP), the long-term plan for funding regional transit service. While we support the ongoing efforts of RTD to re-establish bus routes for Boulder County residents and businesses, we emphasized the need for RTD to reopen the Depot Square Station and return much needed transit services to the Boulder Junction area. The Boulder Chamber will continue its advocacy for a return to pre-pandemic RTD service levels, recognizing that transit isn’t a viable option without service that covers our major employment zones.
To view the Boulder Chamber letter of support for RTD’s System Optimization Plan read here: RTD SOP Comment Letter_July 2022_Chamber_BTC_County_City_CS
The Boulder Chamber Supports the BVSD Mill Levy Override
The Boulder Valley School District needs funding for capital construction and new educational facilities as the population of students rises in Boulder County. The school bond for capital construction will be on the ballot this fall, and the Boulder Chamber strongly supports this ballot measure, in line with our recognition of public education as a critical economic and community value, along with specific alignment with our workforce development goals in the Boulder Together program.
Why would a business supported organization suggest the community support funding for a school district? Economic vitality. We will not be able to positively impact our economy and community without educating our youths, facilitating avenues for careers, and providing safe facilities for learning.
Out of the $353M needed for all BVSD improvements, $195M of the funding will go towards critical safety repairs and about $91M will go to building the new high school in Boulder. As a community, we are under a time constraint. New Vista High School is in terrible shape and Meadowlark K-8 is at capacity, so voters need to act now to address these critical facility needs.
Arguably, the most exciting component of the bond is an investment in the Grad+ Program. This program emphasizes skills-based learning for three significant opportunities. The first allows students to work with educators and the private sector to leverage their talents in joining the skilled labor workforce immediately after high school. The second, gives students a competitive advantage when applying for higher education in bioscience, aerospace, and other STEM fields. Finally, the Grad+ Program helps students build their own skills-based curriculum, so they do not have to choose either a skilled trade or further academic pursuits. They can do both.
The BVSD Capital Bond is a ballot measure everyone can be on board with, whether you’re a parent or not. BVSD has demonstrated strong fiscal responsibility and programmatic excellence with their AA+ Bond Rating and top 5 academic rankings statewide. We want to have competitive schools, a well-educated community, and we need everyone to be prepared as possible for the 21st Century economy. Boulder has historically been competitive for employers and employees not only because of our natural beauty, but also our world-class schools. This is our opportunity to ensure that tradition of excellence continues.
The Boulder Chamber Opposes the Library District
After much deliberation and consultation with community members, chamber members and our Boulder Chamber Board of Directors, the Boulder Chamber firmly decided against the Library District with the concerns of silo of governance and timing of this tax that would disproportionately tax businesses, straining economic stability. The opposition to the Library District does not reflect that the Chamber dislikes libraries but would rather see its funding not impact Boulder businesses and residents at this time.
“While the Boulder Chamber supports increased funding for our libraries, we cannot support the proposed mill levy increase of 3.5 mills (equal to a $400 average increase for homeowners with a $1 million home and 4 times that for businesses) to fund a new library district. We’ve heard a significant outcry from businesses, large and small, that the proposed tax increase comes at the worst possible time, when they are still dealing with reduced patronage, higher costs for labor, equipment, and materials, and reduced customer traffic. Further, a property tax increase of this magnitude presents a significant equity issue, because it will hit our small businesses the hardest. Due to triple net leases, the added property tax costs will be shouldered by commercial tenants, not their landlords.”