Title Board member David Powell

Colorado Title Board member David Powell, representing Attorney General Phil Weiser, reviews proposed initiatives at the board's Jan. 15 meeting.

The state’s Title Board will hold a rehearing on four proposed initiatives designed to create an agency for out-of-school learning opportunities, after a Boulder man objected to the measures’ ballot titles.

Kenneth Nova’s rehearing request cited that the title language set on Jan. 15 is “legally flawed," and that two of the initiatives violate the single subject requirement.

The measures, authored by the Donnell-Kay Foundation and other advocates, would fund a new out-of-school learning opportunities agency through a combination of a new income tax deduction and the limitation or elimination of the net operating loss tax deduction for corporations. Each version of the proposal has a different iteration of the funding mechanism, which sunsets in 2035.

Proponents plan for the net operating loss limitation to increase money to the state’s general fund, offsetting money given to the agency through the income tax deduction. Nova, through his lawyers Thomas M. “Trey” Rogers III and Mark G. Grueskin, argued that this backfilling of money to the general fund is “not sufficiently connected to the measure’s purpose.”

“While reducing the measure’s impact on the general fund may be politically expedient and helpful to Proponents in campaigning for the measure, doing so is not necessarily or properly connected to the creation of the Program,” they wrote.

Even if the Title Board finds that the measures comply with the constitution’s single-subject requirement, Rogers and Grueskin observed that in some years the state will experience a net loss of revenue, and in others, it will experience a net gain through the interlocking funding mechanisms. It is misleading, they said, to call such an effect an “offset” in the title.

The motion for rehearing also alleged that the title violates the requirements of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights by stating that the tax increase will be “on corporations” and by citing the amount of taxes raised in the first year, rather than in the final year of the program. Finally, motion claimed that the ballot titles omit what Nova believes to be “central features” of the proposals.

Nova had previously taken his objections on two similarly-worded ballot measures to the Supreme Court. The justices earlier this month allowed the initiatives' titles to stand based on procedural grounds.

The Title Board will consider the objections at a Feb. 5 rehearing.

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