What is Amendment 68?

*Colorado Pols is profiling ballot measures that will appear on the 2014 Colorado statewide ballot. See also:
What is Amendment 67 in Colorado?
What is Amendment 68 in Colorado?
What is Proposition 104 in Colorado?
What is Proposition 105 in Colorado?

Amendment 68 (Colorado)
OFFICIAL TITLE: Horsetrack Limited Gaming Proceeds for K-12 Education
ALSO KNOWN AS: That Gambling/ School Funding Thing


Official Ballot Language for Amendment 68:
"Shall state taxes be increased $114,500,000 annually in the first full fiscal year, and by such amounts that are raised thereafter, by imposing a new tax on authorized horse racetracks' adjusted gross proceeds from limited gaming to increase statewide funding for K-12 education, and, in connection therewith, amending the Colorado Constitution to permit limited gaming in addition to pre-existing pari-mutuel wagering at one qualified horse racetrack in each of the counties of Arapahoe, Mesa, and Pueblo; authorizing host communities to impose impact fees on horse racetracks authorized to conduct limited gaming; allowing all resulting revenue to be collected and spent notwithstanding any limitations provided by law; and allocating the resulting tax revenues to a fund to be distributed to school districts and the charter school institute for K-12 education?"

…In Other Words:
Should we build a casino at a horse track in just one county in Colorado, and somehow use the tax revenue to give money to schools across the state? And by the way, can we also allow gambling in Mesa and Pueblo counties? It’s for the schools, or something!

Amendment 68 is difficult to fully understand, probably by design. It sounds alright at first glance – tax gambling to raise money for schools – but critics say it contains more holes than the Colorado Rockies’ lineup (for example, who pays for infrastructure and safety costs that would follow construction of a giant casino in Arapahoe County?). Similar broadly written measures have been handily defeated by Colorado voters in the past, including Amendment 33 in 2003, and opposition to Amendment 68 has come from both sides of the political aisle.

It’s important to note that Amendment 68, if passed, would override current laws that give local voters the ultimate say on whether or not to allow casinos in their communities. Some revenue would likely be generated for public and charter schools, but it is unclear how much money, or how it would be distributed.

Who Supports Amendment 68?
People who want to see more casinos and gambling in Colorado but aren’t really concerned about the rest of the details. Colorado Horse Associations (whatever that means). Also, some dude who runs a casino in Rhode Island.

Who Opposes Amendment 68?
Most 2014 candidates are opposed, as is a diverse collection of groups such as the Colorado Municipal League, the Homebuilders’ Association and the Colorado PTA. 

The Horse Race* (Will Amendment 68 Pass or Fail?)
There’s a saying about ballot measures that goes something like this: If you don’t know, vote No. Public opposition seems to be growing for Amendment 68, and we’d guess low-information voters will follow suit by voting against an unclear measure (even if it says it will provide money for education).

*No pun intended, we swear.

No on 68 campaign site

Yes on 68 campaign site


7 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Gilpin Guy says:

    Hope everyone votes no on this dog.  They aren't increasing the pot of money with this get rich scheme.  They'll just shift it from the existing gaming areas to the race track.  The other problem with this get "Schools get rich" scheme is that it takes local control away from the schools.  The casinos in Black Hawk give a half a million dollars to the Gilpin RE 1 school but with more strings attached than Pinochio.  The donation will case if there is an increase in lodging taxes or the school board says one negative thing about the arrangement.  Then there is the problem with what to do if the race track bombs and all of this free money never materializes.  Then there is the social concern that gambling inside metro Denver will result in more bread winners spending the grocery money on their own get rich schemes.  Better to just say NO on this turkey and yes I'm biased towards the status quo.

  2. Gilpin Guy says:

    typo – s/b

    The donation will cease . . .

  3. Gypsy Chief says:

    I plan to vote no also.  thanks for publishing this.

  4. BlueCatBlueCat says:

    I'm voting no. There isn't even anything in this legislation dealing with infrastructure issues the community would face nor is there anything guaranteeing that the money, which will come to very little per student, will be spent on students in the classroom.   It's a poorly written dog promising something for nothing and could well cost tax payers more than what is promised to schools.

  5. notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

    This is a big "no". I haven't seen such a convoluted ballot question in quite a while. Central City isn't that far away if one is determined to blow the rent. BTW, what's the story with the ads claiming most of the money will leave the state?                                   

  6. gertie97 says:

    Crook: do the math. If 34 percent stays for the children,'' then 66 percent leaves the state to the out-of-state casino owners.


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