2018 Civic Engagement
As people of faith we hold that our life together is based on the scared and infinite value of each and every human being.
All people deserve to live the life God calls them to live – to make the most of their God given gifts and potential. To live a life of dignity. No exceptions.
We see many violations of God’s intentions for us in our communities and an opportunity to repair some of them.
That is why Together Colorado is supporting three ballot initiatives this year:
- Amendment A to Abolish Constitutional Slavery - When our constitution allows slavery in some circumstances, we are violating all of our dignity.
- Initiative 126 to cap predatory payday lending interest rates - When we submit people to usury, we are violating their dignity through debt slavery.
- Initiative 93 to establish equitable funding for Colorado schools - When we fail to provide the education people need to grow and thrive, we limit their full human dignity and all of us are harmed.
Initiative 93 and Initiative 126 are in the signature-gathering phase. Please see below for details on how you can help!
Abolish Slavery Colorado - Amendment A
Did you know our Colorado Constitution still allows slavery?
“There shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude EXCEPT as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted." - Colorado Constitution, July 1, 1876
Amendment A abolishes slavery in Colorado. Finally.
Amendment A will change our Constitution to say:
“There shall never be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude." PERIOD.
The Constitution is not a symbolic document. It is the moral and legal foundation of our state.
We Coloradans have the opportunity to be the 1st state to remove this deeply offensive language from our Constitution.
Great Schools, Thriving Communities - Initiative 93
The Great Schools, Thriving Communities campaign was inspired by a diverse and inclusive coalition of education-connected organizations working to advance better and more equitable funding of public schools through a ballot initiative in 2018.
- Colorado is experiencing a teacher shortage crisis — 95% of teachers in rural districts don’t make enough salary to meet the cost of living.
- Colorado ranks #2 in return on educational investment, but we don’t invest enough to eliminate our achievement gaps.
- Colorado’s investment in education is lagging behind other states. We rank near the bottom in personal income invested in education.
- Education funding has not recovered from the recession: In the 2017-18 school year alone, Colorado schools were underfunded by nearly $830 million.
- Create a Quality Public Education Fund financed through higher taxes on higher incomes above $150,000 and on "C" Corporations;
- Provide sustainable support for schools by stabilizing property taxes;
- Address the most pressing needs of our local schools; and
- Ensure that decisions about how to use new funds are made at the local level.
Cap Payday Loan Rates at 36% - Initiative 126
Payday lenders still trap Coloradans in outrageously high-cost debt. Triple-digit rates and multiple fees strip millions of dollars annually from the pockets of people across the state.
Initiative 126 would cap the interest rate and fees on payday loans at 36% APR.
Interest and fees on payday loans strip nearly $50 million annually from Coloradans.
- Payday loans are short-term loans for up to $500. The average payday loan in 2016 was for $392 and cost customers an average of $119 in interest and fees.
- In 2016, payday lenders originated 414,284 loans in Colorado. These high-cost payday loans drained nearly $50 million in fees and interest payments from financially-strapped Coloradans.
Capping rates on payday loans will bring these loans in line with usury rates in Colorado.
- Payday lenders can currently charge an interest rate of 45 percent plus fees because these loans are exempt from state usury laws. By capping the APR (annual percentage rate) at 36% inclusive of fees, this ballot measure would make payday loans subject to the same top interest rate allowable for all other installment loans in Colorado.
- Over a decade ago, Congress capped the interest rate on payday loans offered to active-duty military and their families at 36%. Currently, 15 states and the District of Columbia have also passed laws capping payday lending rates and fees at 36%. Former payday customers in these states are relieved to be out of the payday debt trap and report a variety of less costly ways of meeting financial shortfalls.
Despite legislative reforms, payday loans are still very costly, carrying an average APR of 129%.
- In 2010, the Colorado legislature took steps to reform payday loans, lowering the fees and creating a minimum loan term of six months. The law also allowed prepayment of the loan balance without penalty.
- Despite these important reforms, Coloradans are still paying too much for these loans. In 2016, the average payday loan had an average annual interest rate of 129%. Rates can exceed 200%.