Establishment on Wheeler cash reallocation query for November poll

After two members of Aspen City Council convened a special session on Friday, they failed to get any of their colleagues to change their mind on a vote earlier this week to send a voting question to voters to get a portion of the property transfer tax revenue who are funded to reuse the Wheeler Opera House.

The decision on Friday was made at 4:00 p.m., one hour before the 5:00 p.m. deadline, to put a voting question to the Secretariat of the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s Office for the November 2nd election.

Freshman Councilman John Doyle, who has been in office for three months, has been considered the swing vote since he said while Special session on Tuesday that he could see the merits of sending the question out to voters this year, but also understood the arguments of waiting until November 2022.

Doyle finally sided with Mayor Torre and Alderman Skippy Mesirov on Tuesday to put the question out to voters in a 3-2 vote, with councilors Rachel Richards and Ward Hauenstein disagreeing.

Doyle did not renounce his stance on Friday despite moving a motion to reconsider the ordinance and resolution that sent the question to voters, but in the end he voted no, as did Torre and Mesirov.

Richards and Hauenstein called the special session and said they believed Tuesday’s vote was flawed as Mesirov practically attended the session for an hour and a half after four board members were stuck 2-2 when they passed an ordinance approved, which allows the voting question.

“If the process is flawed, that is also the result of the problem,” said Hauenstein on Friday. “The outcome of Tuesday’s meeting shocked me more than any of the 100+ city council meetings I attended or witnessed when the votes were tied, a dead vote.”

Richards said being asked to re-examine in a special session was the first type of measure she had ever used in her 28 years in public office.

“Last Tuesday evening, at the public hearing, I briefly questioned … a member who did not attend the meeting was voting on the items in the meeting,” she said. “I should have disagreed more strongly.”

Since meeting on Tuesday, Hauenstein and Richards had met separately, with Doyle trying to convince him to move on to their positions.

Doyle had also spoken individually with other members of the council about the voting question before the meeting on Friday.

Richards turned down the poll question for a myriad of reasons, including the fact that the city’s recent election results showed that the required 60% of voters are unlikely to support it.

She also said the issue of how the money would be spent, how much would be diverted and what would be left for the historic Wheeler Opera House was not fully resolved.

However, she supports the concept of funding more art, but the question should be asked in autumn 2022 so that voters can be fully educated, art groups can promote the issue and more people tend to vote during a mid-term election, “said Friday.

Hauenstein said he wants to ensure other important community needs, particularly mental health and childcare, are adequately funded before calling on voters to divert money from the Wheeler Land Transfer Tax (RETT) for more arts funding.

Mesirow and Torre said it is now time to poll voters, and the details of how much is left for the Wheeler and the parameters to be set for the art spending can be done by ordinance by a council vote.

“I am excited about this opportunity and would like to take this step forward,” said Torre.

Friday was the fourth meeting in a month that the council has met to discuss diverting Wheeler funds to other arts purposes, and one of over a dozen this year Talk about funding other community needs with the same source of income.

The Wheeler Opera House currently has a fund balance of $ 40 million and some elected officials and parishioners believe the coffers have grown too big. Therefore, future RETT revenues can be used in other growing areas of need.

The poll question asked for a portion of Wheeler’s RETT proceeds to go to the Red Brick Center for the Arts, which is currently supported by the city’s general fund and the city’s wealth management plan fund.

The elimination of the general fund as a source of support for the Red Brick would allow the city to pay its remaining $ 2.1 million in outstanding certificates of attendance for the Isis Theater, which is in financial distress due to challenges in the film industry is.

The poll also calls for the cap on $ 100,000 annually allocated to arts and culture grants to local nonprofits to be lifted and opened up more widely to the visual and performing arts.

The RETT was first accepted by voters in 1979 and was specifically pledged to provide financial support to the Wheeler Opera House, plus the $ 100,000 annually allocated.

In 2016, voters extended the tax to 2039 and reiterated the 1979 vote that any change in funding would require the support of 60% of voters.

csackariason@aspentimes.com

Citizen group looking for poll query to divert Wheeler cash falls brief on signatures

A group of residents failed to meet Friday’s deadline to submit 925 signatures from registered Aspen voters to ask a question on the November vote calling for re-use of some of the property transfer tax revenue given to the Wheeler Opera House goes, is required.

Kurt Hall, a member of the group that began their efforts earlier this week, said he did not have a final count of signatures on Friday because multiple people were collected and no count had been taken.

“We’re going to move on and when we get to 925 we are going to go before (Aspen City Council) and hope they see this as confirmation,” Hall said. “Even though we missed the deadline, the pressure will mount and our concern, approach and goal will be spread throughout the community.

“It’s not over yet; it has only just begun. “

They try to split the income so that half goes to the wheeler and the other to art.

The question was also to lift the existing cap of $ 100,000 in Wheeler Real Estate Tax (WRETT) income, which is spent on cultural, arts and music organizations in the valley.

A majority of voters agreed to this in 1979 and all WRETTs went to the wheeler.

In 2016, voters extended the WRETT until 2039.

The city could put its own measure on the November vote and has until September 3, but councilors said earlier this year that they were unwilling to ask voters a question about diverting future Wheeler funds, and preferred the elections in autumn 2022.

advice discussed for months about how much money should be diverted and where it should go.

Identified areas of need that the council has focused on include childcare, health and social services, rainwater, and the non-profit arts community.

Mayor Torre said this week that the group trying to split the revenue 50-50 hasn’t done the financial modeling the city is doing to make sure enough money goes to historic Wheeler.

The fund currently has just under $ 40 million.

He also said the group misrepresented that its members tried to work with city officials.

“They turned around and came up with ballot papers with no financial models,” said Torre. “They didn’t take part in any dialogue … the way they approached it wasn’t collaborative.”

City Secretary Nicole Henning accepted the group’s petition Monday after rejecting an earlier petition asking voters to lift the $ 100,000 cap and give the Aspen School District a $ 10 million grant to approve the modernization and renovation of the 550 seats Aspen District Theater and 150-seat black box space.

The language of the petition is not a legislative matter, so Henning concluded and stated in a letter that the granting of funds was an administrative act by a state body.

While the group needed a significant amount of money to renovate the district theater, the additional money released could also fund dozens of local arts and cultural organizations and organizations, which the city would decide on through a grant process.

The WRETT, a 0.5% tax on all property transfers in the city, averages between $ 2 million and $ 4 million per year, although that number was higher in 2020 and likely to be in 2021 as Aspen continues to see record home sales.

csackariason@aspentimes.com

Group circulating petition to place Wheeler cash on fall poll

A group of Aspen residents are collecting signatures this week to bring a citizens’ initiative to the fall vote calling for voters to approve real estate tax reuse so that half goes to the Wheeler Opera House and the other to art uses.

The poll question, which would have to be approved by 60% of Aspen voters, would also aim to lift the existing $ 100,000 limit on Wheeler’s property tax revenue spent on cultural, arts and music organizations in the valley.

According to city clerk Nicole Henning, the city’s home rule charter requires the group to collect 925 signatures from registered voters in Aspen by Friday in order to meet the September 3 deadline for the November 2 elections.

The group’s representatives – Raifie Bass, Kurt Hall, and Ken Ramberg – said they were up to the task.

They also said Monday that they have been working with members of Aspen City Council and city manager Sara Ott for the past few weeks to draft the wording of a possible voting issue, but they got caught in a stalemate from receiving no assistance from officials.

“We tried to do this in partnership with the city council and we really tried to work behind the scenes,” Hall said.

Henning accepted her petition Monday after rejecting a previous one calling on voters to lift the $ 100,000 cap and approve a $ 10 million grant to them Aspen School District upgrade and renovate the Aspen District Theater with 550 seats and the Blackbox with 150 seats.

The language of the petition was not a legislative matter, concluded Henning, and stated in a letter to Bass and Hall that the granting of funds was an administrative act by a government agency.

A similar effort was done by a group of parents three years ago to convert part of the Wheeler RETT for the district theater, but it fell by the wayside due to the lack of city support and timing for an issue in the November 2018 vote.

“We’ve been around for a long time,” Bass said on Monday, adding that three proposals for the latest effort have been tabled and rejected by officials. “We are accused of rushing this, but we’ve been at it for a while.”

The current balance of the Wheeler RETT Fund is $ 39.3 million and grows with the ongoing real estate boom in Aspen.

“We fear that money will be accumulated and not used for the community,” said Ramberg.

The RETT, a 0.5% tax on all property transfers in the city, was first adopted by voters in 1979 and was specifically pledged to provide financial support to the Wheeler Opera House, plus an annual amount of $ 100,000 in arts grants.

City officials increased the arts grants by $ 300,000 annually a few years ago, which comes from revenue from Wheeler’s operations.

In 2016, voters extended the RETT until 2039.

Tax revenue averages between $ 2 million and $ 4 million per year, although that number was higher in 2020 and will likely be in 2021 as urban exodus continues here.

The group wants Aspen voters to unlock future revenue while keeping the tax intact.

“Keep the existing fund as it is, nobody wants to jeopardize the Wheeler or the ability to collect the RETT,” said Bass.

Hall and Ramberg pointed out that it was still up to the city to provide 50% of the future RETT funds as part of their revised funding process for art and cultural organizations.

“We would be at eye level and open it up to all the arts in the valley,” said Ramberg.

The group would apply for an allocation so that the district theater could be remodeled for world-class performances and brought up to date with changing rooms, separate entrance, and other upgrades.

“You already have the asset, use it,” said Bass. “It is the greatest and best use than having the money there.”

Ramberg said this is the most environmentally friendly way to provide entertainment space for the community.

“It is in local traffic, belongs to the community and has parking spaces,” said Ramberg. “It’s such an obvious win for the church and a win for the council.”

The additional money released could fund dozens of local nonprofit and cultural nonprofits and organizations in need, Hall said recent breakup of the 25-year-old Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.

Aspen City Council has been debating for months about how much money should be diverted and where it should go.

Identified Areas of need This council has focused on childcare, health and social services, rainwater, and the non-profit arts community.

Council members have said in recent sessions that they would prefer to ask voters a question about Wheeler’s RETT reallocation in the fall of 2022.

The group that released the petition this week said it was time to free up money for a ramshackle district theater and organizations in need of more money.

“I’m incredibly grateful for people who work in the public sector, but this is about putting that money into better and better use while protecting the wheeler,” said Hall. “Our community has needs, let’s use them.”

csackariason@aspentimes.com

Louisiana legislature refers two amendments to 2022 poll regarding investing state cash in shares and digital submitting and remittance of gross sales taxes

Louisiana legislature put two amendments to vote in November 2022 last week.

Louisiana Increase In Maximum Amount In Stocks For Certain SWF Change (2022)

This change would increase the proportion of money in certain sovereign wealth funds that could be invested in stocks (stocks) from 35% to 65%. The increase would relate to the following funds:

  • Educational Quality Trust Fund in Louisiana;
  • Artificial Reef Development Fund;
  • Endowment Fund for Lifetime Licenses;
  • Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge Trust and Protection Fund; and
  • Russell Sage or Marsh Island Refuge Fund.

The change would also remove a provision in the Constitution that restricts the ability of lawmakers to increase the amount of money in the Millennium Trust that can be invested in stocks and instead allows lawmakers to provide for investment under common law.

Legislators passed House Bill 154 on June 2, 36-0 in the Senate and 100-0 in the House of Representatives. In Louisiana, a two-thirds majority is required in every chamber of the Louisiana state legislature to put an amendment to the vote.

Louisiana Creation of the State and Local Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Commission Amendment (2022)

This change would create the state and local streamlined sales and use tax commission. The commission would consist of eight members. The purpose of the Commission would be to streamline the electronic filing and transfer of all sales and use taxes. It would also be responsible for promulgating regulations on all sales and use taxes levied by a state tax authority. The administration of the commission would be funded by sales and use tax revenues. The change would require a two-thirds majority (66.67 percent) of the state legislatures to legislate on the functions and funding of the commission. The commission would replace the Louisiana Distance Sales and Use Tax Commission and the Louisiana Uniform Local Sales Tax Board after one year, with all employees moving to the new commission.

This change was introduced as House Bill 199 (HB 199) on March 26, 2021. On April 21, 2021 the House passed HB 199 by 97 votes to 4 with three absent. The Senate passed the bill unanimously with amendments on May 12, 2021. The House of Representatives rejected the Senate’s changes and a conference committee was convened. Both houses unanimously passed the legislative version of the conference committee on June 3, 2021.

Possible election actions in Louisiana in 2021 and 2022

There are eight other constitutional amendments for the 2022 ballot and three changes for the 2021 ballot that have been passed by a chamber of the Louisiana Legislature. They would appear on the nationwide ballot when passed in the second chamber.

Louisiana Historic Ballot Statistics

From 2000 to 2020, a total of 132 constitutional amendments were voted on nationwide in Louisiana. A total of 96 amendments appeared on the ballot paper in the even years and 36 amendments appeared on the ballot paper in the odd years. The average number of amendments appearing on the nationwide ballot was 10 in even years and 4 in odd years. Voters approved 71.88% (69 out of 96) and rejected 28.13% (27 out of 96) of the changes in even years. Voters approved 69.44% (25 out of 36) and disapproved 30.56% (11 out of 36) of the changes in odd years.

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Seattle Metropolis Councilmember Sawant to pay for improperly utilizing metropolis cash to assist poll measure

Recall efforts against Seattle councilor Kshama Sawant can advance judge rules

A judge ruled Wednesday that recall efforts can proceed against controversial Seattle councilor Kshama Sawant.

The Seattle The Ethics and Election Commission has ratified a settlement agreement with the city council member Kshama Sawant In which she admitted to misusing city money and other resources to support a proposed electoral action.

Monday’s vote means Sawant will have to pay the city $ 3,516, The Seattle Times reported. That’s twice what she spent advertising a Wage tax on large companies like Amazon.

The decision comes as a Recall campaign collects signatures for an election initiative to remove Sawant. out of office The council member’s announcement on Friday admits one of three recall allegations that she and her supporters have previously emphatically denied.

CONNECTED: Recall efforts against Seattle councilor Kshama Sawant can advance the rules of the Supreme Court

The recall campaign, which must receive 10,000 signatures in Sawant’s District 3 by mid-October in order to be included in the vote Accuses Sawant of opening City Hall to Black Lives Matter protesters although the building was closed and led a march to the home of Mayor Jenny Durkan, a former US attorney whose address is protected by a confidentiality program.

In one statement On Tuesday, Sawant described her violation of ethics as minor and criticized the recall as a right-wing attempt to undo her support for workers and tenants in town hall.

Commissioner Judy Tobin called it a dry topic at a meeting on Zoom.

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Alaska Poll Measure Targets the ‘True Sources’ of Darkish Cash | Wiley Rein LLP

As previously reported in Election Law News, the Alaskans narrowly passed Election Measure 2 in the 2020 general election. This measure, along with other electoral reforms, carries out an open primary and ranked election in the state. The move also has a significant impact on the role of so-called “dark money” in the Alaskan election by introducing strict disclosure of contributions to companies that make independent spending to campaign for the election or defeat of a candidate. The disclosure system primarily focuses on identifying the “true source” of the contributions and any intermediaries.

Definitions. Alaska defines “dark money” as “any contribution whose source or sources, whether wages, capital gains, inheritances, or income from the sale of goods or services, are not made available to the public”. “True Source” means “the person or entity whose contribution is funded by wages, capital gains, inheritances, or income from the sale of goods or services.” However, “[a] Any person or entity who has received funds through contributions, donations, fees, or gifts is not the true source, but an intermediary for the true source. If a member organization receives dues or dues less than $ 2,000 per person per year, the organization itself is considered a “true source”.

Reporting. Election Action 2 aims to tackle the role of “dark money” through strict disclosure by imposing a 24-hour reporting requirement on both independent spending companies and their contributors.

Any individual or group who contributes more than $ 2,000 in total to a business that has made, is making, or is reasonably making independent expenses in a calendar year must report the contribution within 24 hours of crossing this cash threshold. The report must include the applicant’s name, address, main occupation and employer. the amount of the contribution; and the total amount of contributions the applicant made to that company during the calendar year. The applicant must also report and certify the “true source” of the contribution and any intermediaries. In addition, the contributors must “indicate the identity of the true source of the recipient of the contribution at the same time as the contribution itself is made available”.

Companies receiving Entries described above must report the Qualifying Entry and all subsequent entries within 24 hours of receipt.

Disclaimer of liability. The move also requires any group that receives more than 50% of its funding from outside of Alaska to include a disclaimer for all communications that reads, “A majority of contributions to the name of the (externally funded entity) came from outside the state Alaska.”

Wiley’s electoral law and government ethics practice will continue to monitor the implementation of this electoral measure.