DENVER — Coloradans gave themselves a tax break in the election that ended Tuesday, while also blocking a proposal to let liquor-store operators add more locations.
Voters also agreed to raise taxes on high-income Coloradans to support free school meals, refused to relax rules for charity bingo games and raffles, and expanded property tax exemptions for the surviving spouses of fallen military service members.
Several other measures on the ballot statewide were still too close to call as of early Wednesday afternoon on matters ranging from magic mushrooms to affordable housing to wine sales in supermarkets.
By nearly a 2-1 margin, Colorado voters approved Proposition 121, reducing the state income tax rate from 4.55% to 4.4%. The measure is projected to reduce state tax revenue by $412.6 million, a cut of about 2.4% to the state’s general fund, while saving the average Colorado taxpayer $119 in fiscal-year 2023-24.
And nearly two-thirds of voters opposed Proposition 124, which would have let retail liquor chains grow from a limit of three stores statewide now to a maximum of eight, and then to 13 in 2027, 20 in 2032 and an unlimited number in 2037. Under existing law, liquor chains will be allowed a four-store maximum in 2027 but not more. The Colorado Licensed Beverage Association, representing independent liquor stores, had said Prop 124 would let big chains drive its members out of business.
Other statewide measures decided by Wednesday afternoon:
- Voters approved Amendment D, a constitutional amendment laying out how judges will be appointed in a new state judicial district for Arapahoe County.
- By better than 7-to-1, voters passed Amendment E, expanding a property tax exemption for “Gold Star” wives and husbands of service members killed in the line of duty or who died later of service-related injuries or illness.
- Amendment F failed; it would have made it easier for charities to organize fundraising bingo games and raffles.
- Proposition FF passed; it will reduce state income tax deductions for households making more than $300,000 a year in adjusted income, raising funds to support a free school-meals program for all public-school students.
- Proposition GG passed; it requires voters to be given more information about the impact of state income tax rate changes as part of future ballot measures on taxes.
- Proposition 122 passed; it legalizes the possession and use of psychedelic mushrooms and allow the opening of “healing centers” where they could be dispensed. Proponents touted the legalization of “natural medicine”; opponents said any health benefits of magic mushroom are unproven and warned of increased drug abuse.
- Proposition 123 passed; it will set aside a share of existing state tax revenue — estimated at $290 million in fiscal-year 2023-24 — to fund programs by local governments and nonprofits to develop affordable housing. Supporters said it would help address the state’s housing crisis without new taxes; opponents warned it could draw state funds away from schools and might reduce future Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) refunds like the ones Coloradans got this year.
- Propositions 125 passed in a close races; it allows grocery and convenience stores to sell wine.
- Prop 126 failed; it would have let restaurants continue to sell alcoholic drinks to go — a pandemic-era program — beyond the current July 2025 expiration date; it would also let liquor businesses use third-party delivery services.
MORE ON ELECTION 2022
- Rocky Mountain PBS: Live Election 2022 results
- Election 2022: Polis wins 2nd term as Colorado governor
- Election 2022: Bennet wins 3rd Senate term, defeating businessman O’Dea
- Election 2022: Boebert faces unexpectedly stout challenge for U.S. House seat
Mark Harden is an editor and reporter who has worked with Rocky Mountain PBS, Colorado Community Media, Colorado Politics, The Denver Post, The Denver Business Journal and more. You can reach him here.