Colorado a swing state in 2012 -- and a hate state in 1992

colorado county map.jpg
The national newscasts this morning are full of speculation about which way Colorado will swing tomorrow. But whether the color wheel lands on red or blue, Colorado won't look as black as it did the morning after the 1992 election, when this state was labeled "The Hate State."

The youngest people eligible to vote this year weren't born when Coloradans faced a whopping thirteen statewide ballot issues in 1992, the year the country elected Bill Clinton president and bumped the first George Bush out of the White House. Eight of those issues were constitutional amendments that landed on the ballot by petition, and it was quite a lineup. Among the measures approved were three that comprised the Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly.

The Good: Great Outdoors Colorado

Voters had already approved the Colorado Lottery a decade earlier, but this initiative proposed putting much of the money collected from the lottery to Great Outdoors Colorado, a new program that would support open space and recreation areas throughout the state. Since 1994, when GOCO awarded its first grants, through fiscal year 2011, GOCO has committed approximately $715 million for nearly 3,500 projects in all 64 counties throughout the state, according to GOCO's website.

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Douglas Bruce in a photo-illustration by Kenny Be.
The Bad: TABOR, Taxpayer's Bill of Relief
Touted by Doug Bruce, the Tabor Amendment -- which required voter approval of tax increases -- did not lead to the Armageddon that opponents predicted when it passed in November 1992. That's partly because the measure did allow local governments to de-Bruce, as many have over the last two decades -- and Denver's 2A on this year's ballot would be another override of Tabor if passed. But the dreaded "ratchet effect" and other problematic language in the measure, coupled with Colorado's boom and bust cycle, has made coping with Tabor a tricky business.

Continue to read more about the 1992 election in Colorado and what it might mean for tomorrow.



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