There are plenty of good reasons to turn away Amendment 74 to the Colorado Constitution, which is on this November’s ballot.
Created to require state and local governments to reimburse mineral owners for the gas and oil royalties which they would not receive if drilling was prohibited, the addition to the constitution would also freeze most government decisions about the use of private property.
Want to build to a height of 10 stories on a small city street and the city government says no? Send the city a bill. Argue that only one lane in and out of your subdivision is adequate so that you can save in construction costs, and the county says no? Send it a bill. Those are not conditions that are in Coloradans’ best interest.
To meet the initial purpose of the ballot question would be impossible, and would halt drilling. Energy companies are paying hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties across the state, amounts that governments would have no way of coming up with to compensate mineral rights holders. That alone is a reason why we vote NO on 74.
Because this ballot language can be applied to other property issues when governments say no just makes it a hundred times more harmful to property owners and to the state.
Payday lendingWhen borrowing several hundred dollars in a few minutes with little or no credit check is possible, there is probably a reason to be wary.
While the basic interest rate might be close to what a credit card company charges (in Colorado up to 20 percent for the first $300), look out for the add-ons. In Colorado, payday lenders have multiple ways to make money from a relatively small debt. They can add 7.5 percent to the amount above $300 (still not unreasonable), but then can charge a monthly maintenance fee of $30 and as much as 45 percent in an annual finance fee.
As a result, for smaller amounts, repayment could double the amount borrowed.
Eleven states either cap the annual cost of a payday loan at 36 percent or do not allow the loans at all. A YES vote on question 111 on this November’s ballot will set the interest rate cap at 36 percent in Colorado. The fees will no longer be allowed.
Payday lenders, often large regional or national companies, argue that high default rates require the option to set high charges on all loans. That penalizes every small borrower.
Better in our estimation is for the companies to require more in the way of credit evaluations, refusing loans to some rather than to add exorbitant amounts to many or most of their borrowers.
In 2010, the Colorado Legislature partially clamped down on small-amount, short-term lenders by requiring that loans be written for at least six months rather than two months.
That was a step in the right direction. But we’re adding a needed YES vote on the citizen-initiated statutory change, Proposition 111.