By Curtis Hubbard
Proposition DD isn’t just a win for Colorado’s water, it’s a win for the state’s economy — which is why the measure has drawn widespread support from chambers of commerce, industry groups and leading businesses in the state.
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“Colorado and states throughout the arid West are facing challenges ranging from booming populations to drought- all of which have an impact on doing business in the West,” said Molly Mugglestone, Communications and Colorado Policy Director, Business for Water Stewardship. “Investing in conservation, efficiency and river health with Proposition DD will ensure our rivers will remain healthy and continue to fuel Colorado’s thriving outdoor-recreation economy and that cities have reliable, clean, and safe drinking water supplies as they grow.”
Proposition DD implements a $29 million tax on casinos’ sports-betting profits to fund a bipartisan effort to preserve Colorado’s water future. A small portion of the revenue from the tax will be used to regulate and enforce sports betting, while the vast majority of the proceeds — 93% in all — will be used as a down payment to fund “Colorado’s Water Plan.”
Backed by rural and urban water providers, farmers, ranchers, environmentalists and leaders in the business community, the plan is a broad-based effort to provide clean and safe drinking water to the people of the state in a way that protects the state’s agricultural and recreational industries and assures river and stream health.
The ability to begin to take steps now to address water scarcity in the face of climate change and increased demand is a draw for many supporters of Prop DD.
“Colorado’s snowpack, which provides the vast majority of our water, is projected to decrease by more than 50% by the end of this century. So it’s critical that we rally industry support now to protect and conserve water resources,” said Auden Schendler, Vice President of Sustainability, Aspen Skiing Company.
“My business depends on clean, abundant water, which is why I’m pleased to endorse Proposition DD. As our rivers and streams face growing challenges, including climate change and population increases, we must fund Colorado’s precious water resources” said Sarah Tingey of Alpacka Rafts, a member of the Colorado Outdoor Business Alliance.
Proposition DD has also drawn significant support from Colorado agricultural businesses.
“The economics of Proposition DD make sense for our state. We need to find a reliable source of funding for Colorado’s Water Plan to support the business of agriculture which is crucial to our state’s economy and well being. The necessary investment into projects supported by the water plan can support sustainable solutions that protect our farmers, agricultural business and our rivers,” said Rich Werner, President and CEO, Upstate Colorado.
And Colorado’s thriving outdoor-recreation sector understands the role protecting and conserving water plays in their industry as well.
“Ensuring the protection of Colorado’s water is critical to the future of the state and the state’s $28 billion outdoor recreation economy,” said David Weinstein, state and local policy director for the Outdoor Industry Association. “Proposition DD is a once in a generation opportunity to help protect this most precious resource and presents the chance to make sure Colorado’s water remains clean and accessible for current and future generations.”
Businesses and industry organizations that have endorsed Proposition DD include: Action 22, the Arkansas River Outfitters Association, Aspen Skiing Company, Business for Water Stewardship, the Colorado Association of Homebuilders, the Colorado Association of Mechanical & Plumbing Contractors, Colorado Business Roundtable, Colorado Bankers Association, Colorado Competitive Council, Colorado Concern, Colorado Contractors Association, Denver Metro Commercial Association of Realtors, the Downtown Denver Partnership and the Outdoor Industry Association.
They are joined by more than a dozen chambers of commerce and economic development organizations from across the state. For a complete list of endorsements, visit: https://yesondd.com/
Colorado’s Water Plan estimated the state needs $100 million annually for the next 30 years to address myriad water challenges, including projected growth to 8.5 million people by 2050. The plan was approved in 2015 after the most extensive public engagement process on water in the state’s history, with comments submitted by more than 30,000 Coloradans.