LPCO Opposes Propositions CC and DD

At the regular board meeting held on September 9, 2019, the Board of Directors of the Libertarian Party of Colorado opposed both Propositions CC and DD.

Proposition CC

What it does: A permanent de-Brucing starting in 2019 of all excess tax revenues, meaning all excess tax revenues the state obtains, the state can keep and spend, permanently, perpetually, with the funds going to public schools, colleges and universities and roads, bridges, and transit.  HB19-1257.

Recommendation: OPPOSE

Reason for Recommendation:

  1. It’s our money, not theirs.
  2. It’s permanent and can never be legislatively undone, effectively revoking that part of TABOR without amending the state Constitution.  De-Brucing was never meant to be permanent.

Currently the Legislature plays fiscal shell games with TABOR by arranging excessive revenues to be everything but taxes.  This is a direct assault on the taxes and an admission by the Legislature that they simply have zero fiscal discipline whatsoever, regardless of party in control.

Proposition DD

What it does: The Supreme Court determined in Murphy v. NCAA that there is no federal prohibition upon the states that prevents the states from legalizing sports betting.  The Legislature responded by passing a bill, HB19-01327, to allow sports betting as regulated by the state Gaming Control Commission, who oversees the limited-stakes gambling operations in Cripple Creek, Central City, and Blackhawk.  Such betting would be limited to the casinos in those towns, be limited to college, professional, and Olympic sports, and be limited to patrons 21 and over.  The Proposition if passed establishes a 10% tax on the proceeds of sports betting, paid by the casinos, to fund the state water plan, to self-pay for regulation and enforcement of the sports betting, to offset revenue losses to the towns and their counties for sports betting (WTF?), and to fund a gambling crisis hotline and gambling addiction treatments.  Betting wins shall be taxed as gambling winnings already are as income.  The Proposition has to be made to establish the 10% tax on the casinos, and the sports betting legalization is dependent upon the tax passing, meaning if the proposition fails, sports betting will still not be legal in Colorado.

Recommendation: OPPOSE

Reason for Recommendation: This is a convoluted mess of a bill that attempts to establish a full regulatory scheme for sports betting under the umbrella of the gaming commission rules for limited-stakes gambling already in effect.  While that in itself makes sense, the libertarian argument is against such regulations as an overreach of government into the activities of private consenting adults.  On top of that, in order for this scheme to take effect, there would be imposed a 10% tax on the casinos who choose to license themselves into the scheme.  While that is their choice, the premise of making the tax be self-funding for the regulation with the excess going to state welfare programs for gambling problems and then to the state water plan, which has nothing to do with interstate water compacts and similar non-gambling issues, is the government equivalent of a pickpocket asking his victim to voluntarily hand the pickpocket the victim’s wallet.  It would make far more sense to legalize and regulate the sports betting separate from the tax proposal.  You can also guarantee that the 10% tax will be passed on to the bettors in the form of a surcharge or regulatory fee regardless of whether or not the bettor wins.  If the bettor does win, then they will get taxed twice, once on the bet, and once on the winnings.  No such situation occurs with the other gambling options, including the lotteries.  While the people should have the freedom to spend their money gambling on sports if they so choose, this is not the way to accomplish it.