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Ballot Measure 2B:
Funding to Address Homelessness


 

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Live Forum Information

A Denver Decides Ballot Issue Forum in anticipation of the general election coming up on Tuesday, November 3rd. Ballot Measure 2B reads in part: Shall City and County of Denver sales and use taxes be increased by $40 million annually, commencing January 1, 2021, and by whatever additional amounts are raised annually thereafter, from a 0.25% sales and use tax rate (2.5 cents on a $10 purchase) that will not be collected on food for home consumption, water, fuel, medical supplies, or feminine hygiene products, to be used to fund housing, shelter, or services for people experiencing homelessness? Denver City Councilmember At-Large Robin Kniech speaks in favor of Ballot Measure 2B, and D.K. Williams former State Chairman and Legislative Director of the Libertarian Party of Colorado speaks against the measure.
 


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Amendment 2B

SHALL CITY AND COUNTY OF DENVER SALES AND USE TAXES BE INCREASED BY $40 MILLION ANNUALLY, COMMENCING JANUARY 1, 2021, AND BY WHATEVER ADDITIONAL AMOUNTS ARE RAISED ANNUALLY THEREAFTER, FROM A TWENTY-FIVE ONE-HUNDREDTHS OF ONE PERCENT (0.25%) SALES AND USE TAX RATE (2.5 CENTS ON A TEN-DOLLAR PURCHASE), THAT WILL NOT BE COLLECTED ON FOOD FOR HOME CONSUMPTION, WATER, FUEL, MEDICAL SUPPLIES OR FEMININE HYGIENE PRODUCTS, TO BE USED TO FUND HOUSING, SHELTER OR SERVICES FOR PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO:

BUILDING HOUSING, EXPANDING RENTAL ASSISTANCE OR PROVIDING SUPPORTIVE SERVICES OR OTHER SUPPORTS TO HOUSE PEOPLE EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS;

EXPANDING THE NUMBER OF SHELTER BEDS, IMPROVING ACCESS FOR UNDERSERVED POPULATIONS, AND PROVIDING BETTER HEALTH AND HOUSING OUTCOMES THROUGH 24-HOUR SHELTER AND DROP-IN DAY SERVICES SUCH AS CORONAVIRUS PREVENTION, MENTAL HEALTH CARE, SUBSTANCE TREATMENT, HOUSING AND EMPLOYMENT COUNSELING, AND OTHER SERVICES; AND

PROVIDING MORE HOUSING REFERRALS AND OTHER SERVICES TO PEOPLE LIVING ON THE STREETS OR IN CARS TO HELP THEM EXIT HOMELESSNESS;

AND, IN CONNECTION THEREWITH, SHALL NO MORE THAN EIGHT PERCENT (8%) OF THE TOTAL ANNUAL REVENUES DERIVED FROM THE INCREASE IN SALES AND USE TAX BE SPENT ON CITY ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS RELATED TO THE ABOVE PURPOSES; AND SHALL THE MONIES DERIVED FROM THE INCREASE IN SALES AND USE TAX NOT BE USED TO OFFSET ANY CURRENT REVENUE EXPENDITURES FROM THE GENERAL FUND; AND SHALL THE REVENUES FROM THESE INCREASED TAXES BE COLLECTED AND SPENT IN EACH FISCAL YEAR BY DENVER WITHOUT REGARD TO ANY EXPENDITURE, REVENUE-RAISING, OR OTHER LIMITATION CONTAINED WITHIN ARTICLE X, SECTION 20 OF THE COLORADO CONSTITUTION OR ANY OTHER LAW?

¿SE DEBERÍAN AUMENTAR LOS IMPUESTOS SOBRE LAS TRANSACCIONES Y EL USO DE LA CIUDAD Y EL CONDADO DE DENVER EN $40 MILLONES AL AÑO, A PARTIR DEL 1.º DE ENERO DE 2021, Y EN CUALQUIER CANTIDAD ADICIONAL EN QUE SE INCREMENTE ANUALMENTE A PARTIR DE VEINTICINCO CENTÉSIMAS DEL UNO POR CIENTO (0.25 %) DE LA TASA DE IMPUESTOS SOBRE LAS TRANSACCIONES Y EL USO (2.5 CENTAVOS EN UNA COMPRA DE DIEZ DÓLARES), QUE NO SE COBRARÁN EN ALIMENTOS PARA CONSUMO EN EL HOGAR, AGUA, COMBUSTIBLE, SUMINISTROS MÉDICOS Y PRODUCTOS DE HIGIENE FEMENINA, QUE SE UTILIZARÁN PARA FINANCIAR PROGRAMAS DE ALOJAMIENTO, REFUGIO O SERVICIOS PARA PERSONAS SIN HOGAR, QUE INCLUYEN ENTRE OTROS:

CONSTRUCCIÓN DE VIVIENDAS, AMPLIACIÓN DE LA ASISTENCIA PARA ALQUILER O SERVICIOS DE APOYO U OTROS APOYOS PARA ALOJAR A LAS PERSONAS QUE NO TENGAN HOGAR;

AMPLIACIÓN DEL NÚMERO DE CAMAS EN REFUGIOS, MEJORAS EN EL ACCESO PARA POBLACIONES MARGINADAS Y MEJORES RESULTADOS EN SALUD Y VIVIENDA POR MEDIO DE SERVICIOS DE ALBERGUE Y SERVICIOS DIURNOS SIN CITA PREVIA, COMO PREVENCIÓN DEL CORONAVIRUS, ATENCIÓN DE SALUD MENTAL, TRATAMIENTO CONTRA EL ABUSO DE SUSTANCIAS, ASESORÍA SOBRE VIVIENDA Y EMPLEO, Y OTROS SERVICIOS; Y

PROPORCIONAR MÁS REFERENCIAS DE VIVIENDA Y OTROS SERVICIOS A LAS PERSONAS QUE VIVEN EN LAS CALLES O EN AUTOMÓVILES PARA AYUDARLAS A SALIR DE LA SITUACIÓN DE CALLE; 

Y, EN RELACIÓN CON ELLO, ¿SE DEBERÍA GASTAR UN MÁXIMO DEL OCHO POR CIENTO (8 %) DE LOS INGRESOS ANUALES TOTALES PROVENIENTES DEL AUMENTO DE LOS IMPUESTOS SOBRE LAS TRANSACCIONES Y EL USO EN COSTOS ADMINISTRATIVOS DE LA CIUDAD RELACIONADOS CON LOS PROPÓSITOS MENCIONADOS ANTERIORMENTE; Y EL DINERO PROVENIENTE DEL AUMENTO DEL IMPUESTO SOBRE LAS TRANSACCIONES Y EL USO NO SE UTILIZARÁ PARA COMPENSAR NINGÚN GASTO DE INGRESOS CORRIENTE DEL FONDO GENERAL; Y LOS FONDOS PROVENIENTES DEL AUMENTO DE ESTOS IMPUESTOS DEBERÍAN SER COBRADOS Y GASTADOS EN CADA AÑO FISCAL POR DENVER SIN TENER EN CUENTA CUALQUIER GASTO, RECAUDACIÓN DE INGRESOS U OTRA LIMITACIÓN INCLUIDA EN EL ARTÍCULO X, SECCIÓN 20 DE LA CONSTITUCIÓN DE COLORADO O CUALQUIER OTRA LEY?

Ballot Details

Ballot measure 2B is Denver’s plan to reduce homelessness.

Ballot measure 2B will make critical investments to help individuals experiencing homelessness get back on their feet, find housing and employment, and access critical medical, behavioral and drug treatment programs. This ballot measure will advance Denver’s goals for a healthy, safe, and equitable city.

Ballot measure 2B will fund resources, support services, and housing for individuals and families who have experienced a loss of stable housing. This ballot measure will fund three primary strategies to reduce homelessness:

  • Build supportive housing and expand rental assistance in Denver. This funding will allow Denver to build 1,800 homes with supportive services over the next ten years. This housing will help transition people into housing from shelters or unsheltered living situations, and provide services like employment counseling or behavioral health care.
  • Increase the number of available shelter beds in Denver. Additional shelters will improve access for underserved populations and provide services such as coronavirus prevention, mental health care, housing and employment counseling, and substance misuse treatment.
  • Provide funding for innovative programs. These services include expanding the use of tiny homes, hiring street outreach workers, providing medical, behavioral, and drug treatment programs, and services to reach and help individuals who are unsheltered.

The need for dedicated, additional funding to address homelessness has become more critical due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Existing shelter capacity in Denver has been reduced by 1,200 beds since March 2020 due to social distancing guidance. As our economy remains in a recession, tens of thousands of Denver residents are out of work or at risk of unemployment and vulnerable to eviction due to rent burden.

Ballot measure 2B will provide sustainable funding for these interventions through an increase in the city’s sales tax of 0.25%, or 2.5 cents on a $10 dollar purchase. The sales tax increase will not be collected on food for home consumption, water, fuel, medical supplies or feminine hygiene products.

Ballot measure 2B is expected to raise up to $40 million in the first year, which will be administered by the Denver Department of Housing Stability and invested in community-based providers. This ballot measure requires transparent and inclusive planning and public reporting, including oversight from an advisory board and City Council approval of budgets and plans.

  • Even those who oppose this sales tax increase can agree that homelessness can be devastating to all who experience it – families and individuals. It’s a big problem that requires a broad based solution with multiple funding sources. Volunteers, nonprofits, private foundations, businesses and all levels of government should and do provide help for people to get back their dignity and independence and have a roof over their head.
  • What makes little sense is to increase Denver’s sales tax rate, a regressive tax seriously impacting those who can least afford it. That includes the homeless themselves, people on the verge of homelessness, and those now unemployed trying to provide for their families the best they can.
  • If both sales tax increase measures on Denver’s ballot pass, our sales tax rate (including state and regional taxes) will be in the upper tier of taxes in the region, a total of 8.81%.
  • An increase in Denver’s sales tax makes our businesses less competitive and requires our residents to pay more, reducing employment opportunities and pushing more people into homelessness.
  • Denver already spends $110 million on homeless services and affordable housing. We should be sure the money is spent well and targets the highest needs.
  • As part of examining the prudent expenditure of existing tax dollars, are we getting the most “bang for the buck” when one nonprofit service provider that contracts with Denver reports paying the executive director more than $250,000 total annual compensation and 11 other key employees range from $152,000 to $266,000.* (*Colorado Coalition for the Homeless federally required public disclosure for 2018, Form 990). They also report significant lobbying expenditures. All government and nonprofit providers should be scrutinized before taxpayers are asked to pay more.
  • This tax increase is a “forever” tax increase. There is no “sunset” date for it to expire or be reexamined. Ballot Measure 2B is a sales tax increase of $40 million annually to fund housing, shelter, or services for people experiencing homelessness.

Homelessness is undoubtedly a real and continuing problem in Denver, but simply increasing the current funding for homeless services will undoubtedly fail without effective programs to encourage the homeless to become self-sufficient. The current programs clearly are not working and increasing taxes for new programs while cutting critical City services such as police and fire, recreation centers, and libraries makes no sense.

Separate from the tax increase, the City is proposing additional spending of $6.5 million for homeless services and shelters on top of the approximately $15 million (plus $12 million in Federal funds) already being spent on homelessness services. Let’s not raise sales taxes before Denver can demonstrate it will spend effectively the money it has budgeted for the homeless.

Vote no on Ballot Measure 2B