Amendment 74 could destroy the Colorado we all love.
Strip clubs, liquor stores, and gun shops could be built near schools. Public health standards that keep restaurants, tattoo parlors, and hospitals safe -- they could be gone.
Colorado courts could be flooded with frivolous lawsuits all at the taxpayer's expense.
Vote No on Amendment 74
By allowing any property holder to sue local and state governments over any regulation they disagree with, Amendment 74 could cost the state millions and take away the ability of local leaders to decide what their communities look like.
Organizations Standing Against Amendment 74
Colorado’s Amendment 74 is risky and could lead to many unintended consequences. It would allow any private property owner to sue the government if they believe that a law or regulation has decreased the “fair market value” of their property.
The government – the taxpayers – would be forced to pay property owners, like corporate interests and big industries, for any decrease in the value of their property – including loss of profits – due to any government law or regulation. One lawsuit could cost a local government millions of dollars, and if they couldn’t pay, they would have to waive regulations or increase taxes.
Laws designed to keep communities safe and companies accountable would be challenged, essentially handcuffing local governments and the state from doing their jobs. In short, Amendment 74 destroys the ability of local leaders to make decisions about what their communities look like.
This ballot measure would expand part of our Constitution in a way that would have sweeping impacts on local governments and communities across the state. By requiring local governments to compensate corporate interests, Amendment 74 seeks to make all regulations too expensive to implement.
The motive of this measure is clear: it’s paid for by oil and gas companies (they’ve contributed more than $21 million) because it would give them complete freedom over where and how they do business. The very same kind of pipelines that caused a home explosion in Firestone could end up in any neighborhood, threatening the health and safety of residents, and the community couldn’t do anything to stop it.
Think of all the ways local leaders help shape our communities — and how Amendment 74 could upend all that. Marijuana dispensaries, strip clubs, or liquor stores could open up next to schools if zoning laws were challenged. Irresponsible development could surge, such as heavy industries operating near nursing homes and hospitals. Even minimum wage laws, affordable housing projects, and safety protections could be challenged for negatively impacting a property’s market value, and they would therefore become too expensive to enact or enforce.
On top of these threats to local community decision-making, Colorado’s Amendment 74 would allow for thousands of pricey lawsuits at the taxpayers’ expense. Local governments could lose so much money from lawsuits and payouts that they would not be able to provide basic services, like funding police and fire departments.
When a similar measure was enacted in Oregon, nearly 7,000 claims were filed requesting a total of $19.8 billion in the first three years; cash-strapped governments were forced to waive rules for nine out of ten claims.
Proponents of this ballot measure claim it will protect private property owners. But the truth is that Colorado property owners will suffer. Since property values go down when undesirable development – like a landfill – is planned near a community, one unregulated property owner has the potential to harm the property values of many.
This also happened in Oregon, where property owners could only sit and watch as an 80-acre gravel mine was built next to family ranches, vacation homes were put up in a national monument, and subdivisions tore up agricultural land. As these landowners learned, waiving land-use rules generally damaged property values, pitted neighbor against neighbor, and put a stranglehold on local decision making. Two years after it passed, Oregon residents opposed the measure by nearly two to one.
We need to save our Colorado from Amendment 74. It costs too much and is far too risky.