- Brian P. Werner, CPA
Colorado Amendment 69 - An Ugly Move for a Beautiful State
From cradle to the grave - this seems to be the mantra of most governments these days, including the State of Colorado government. Let's force more government programs onto the private sector. Let's face it, government knows what is best for you - right? Absolutely not. Not even close.
We here in Colorado have been experiencing an economic boom due to our sunny skies, low cost of living, and favorable regulatory / tax climate. Oh yeah, and that legalization of recreational marijuana thing opened a completely new industry opportunity and tax revenue source here. Remember the DARE program during the 80s and 90s that was taught in our schools across the nation about how marijuana was the gateway drug? New schools constructed in Colorado directly receive funding from, you guessed it - marijuana taxes! Oh the irony! Shhh - don't tell our children. Most Colorado residents are receiving a refund when they file their Colorado income tax return because so much marijuana tax revenue has come flooding in!
So we have a booming economy, people are moving here via the truck loads every day, and it seems like the tourists visit and never leave. More tax revenue flooding in every day for the State of Colorado. You would think that would be good enough for our politicians. Nope!
Amendment 69 will be on every Colorado ballot in November. What is Amendment 69 you ask? It is being touted as ColoradoCare. The following is taken directly from the Amendment - "Colorado will finance health care through ColoradoCare, a political subdivision of the state governed by a twenty-one member board of trustees that will administer a coordinated payment system for health care services and control the per capita cost of health care, thereby improving access to health care for all Coloradans, enhancing their health care experiences, giving Coloradans the right to choose their primary health care providers, and improving the working lives of providers." Wow, that sounds pretty good so far.
Let's dive further . The following also taken directly from the Amendment - "SHALL STATE TAXES BE INCREASED $25 BILLION ANNUALLY IN THE FIRST FULL FISCAL YEAR, AND BY SUCH AMOUNTS THAT ARE RAISED THEREAFTER, BY AN AMENDMENT TO THE COLORADO CONSTITUTION ESTABLISHING A HEALTH CARE PAYMENT SYSTEM TO FUND HEALTH CARE FOR ALL INDIVIDUALS WHOSE PRIMARY RESIDENCE IS IN COLORADO, AND, IN CONNECTION THEREWITH, CREATING A GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY CALLED COLORADOCARE TO ADMINISTER THE HEALTH CARE PAYMENT SYSTEM..."
You can see the full text here - http://www.coloradocare.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/amendment-reformatted12.27.15.pdf
Stop! I just threw up a little in my mouth. Last time I checked our state budget just proposed for FY 2016-2017 was for almost $27 billion - this is for the entire state budget. So with this ColoradoCare you want to almost double our state budget to provide every Colorado resident with state run government health care? And continue to increase taxes as they see fit to make sure ColoradoCare is fully funded? Last time I checked governments at all levels are the most inefficient entities in this great country of ours. I think some politicians wake up in the morning and say - "How can we collect more tax revenue from the public and flush it down the toilet?" Does anyone want to take an ambulance ride with me just for the hell of it, if this garbage passes?
Remember that economic boom that we were discussing earlier. If Amendment 69 passes, that will come to a screeching halt as this is a payroll tax (aka forced tax) on the producers - the employers and the employees. The medical and health insurance profession will flee Colorado faster than the stoners coming in. Businesses will now look at their tax burden and say "Never thought I would say this in my lifetime but California is looking quite appealing to relocate my business." Along with the stoners will come the non-producers - the ones who will expect to receive their free state government run health care. I am doubtful the sky will continue to be as sunny here in the State of Colorado.
Don't get me wrong. Our health care system is definitely broken. The source of the problem is the hospitals and insurance companies running the cost of everything up, up, and up some more. Anyone looked at their hospital bill lately. See that $15 per Tylenol pill on there? See - http://www.rd.com/health/wellness/wildly-overinflated-hospital-costs/
Even the Denver Post agrees with me! We normally don't agree on much. See - http://www.denverpost.com/2016/10/14/a-resounding-no-on-amendment-69-voters-should-reject-coloradocare/
I can say with certainty that Colorado Amendment 69 is definitely not the answer to our broken health care system.