The Independence Institute’s biggest victory in 2018 was voters swinging its way on big policy questions at the state level, especially against the backdrop of a blue wave in Colorado.
In November, Coloradans shot down two large tax increases and a fracking ban at the ballot, with Independence Institute playing a major role. In each instance, II used different techniques to help kill them.
Proposition 110 was a 21 percent state sales tax increase for mystery transportation projects. To combat this, II put its own competing measure on the ballot, Proposition 109 (aka the “Fix Our Damn Roads” measure), which addressed transportation needs without a tax increase. While both measures failed, II’s measure proved that the massive sales tax hike in 110 was unnecessary and ensured its defeat.
For Proposition 112, a 2,500 foot “setback” for new oil and gas development, II told personal stories of the job losses and economic harm this de facto ban would cause, in both Spanish and English. By targeting particular audiences through II’s issue committee, The Spirit of Colorado, it flipped those groups from yes to no. Prop 112 went down by 14 points.
Amendment 73 was a progressive income, corporate and property tax hike all rolled into one bad education funding measure. II provided the intellectual foundation for its coalition partners to make compelling arguments against 73, and voters got the message, killing it 55–45.
Colorado remains a flat tax state, open to oil and gas development, with a low state sales tax. And Independence Institute did its part in keeping it that way, all for less than $1,000,000.