2A Campaign Analysis

Executive Summary

Our Campaign efforts ran from 10/4/17 through 11/7/17, and focused on the 2A stormwater ballot issue. Despite a hard fought campaign, the ballot passed 54%-46%. New fees will be assessed on utility bills next year. The City claims the windfall will be well spent on storm water projects and will free up more money for more police and fire personnel.

Comparing the 2A results to the 2015, 2C pothole ballot issue:

Looking at just raw vote totals, there were 8,578 more voters who said “no” to giving more money to the City between the 2015 and 2017 ballot issues. And given that Invest in COS, the organization formed to advocate for the passage of 2A outspent us by a 10-1 margin (approximately $400,000 to $40,000), voter attitudes toward tax and fee increases are changing.

SpringsTaxpayers Organization Mission

Our mission is to protect the taxpayers of Colorado Springs and El Paso County by asking the hard questions and demanding truth and accuracy from our government.

We educate Colorado Springs and El Paso County taxpayers on local issues that impact them financially.

Educational Campaign Goals

  • Educate and provide the truth to Colorado Springs and El Paso County taxpayers
  • Run highly efficient educational campaigns to optimize contributions
  • Create as much earned media as possible – say yes to all media inquiries
  • Highlight the lack of transparency on the part of local politicians
  • Position SpringsTaxpayers as a source of truth for City and County taxpayers

Campaign Key Metrics

Invest in COS, supported primarily by developers and construction companies, raised 10 times the amount SpringsTaxpayers raised.

Despite being outspent by such a large margin, SpringsTaxpayers was able to educate, inform and influence Colorado Springs taxpayer.

Campaign Media Results

The 2017 SpringsTaxpayers.com campaign strategy was disruptive to the opposition, with social and digital media being the key differentiator. Our language and challenges to the Mayor kept him off balance, and drove him to shift to scare tactics to convince the voters of Colorado Springs to support 2A.

Campaign Conclusion

The votes have been tallied and the people of Colorado Springs have decided. The stormwater ballot issue passed 54%-46%. New fees will be assessed on utility bills next year, and voters will be paying very close attention to ensure the new windfall will be well spent. They will also pay close attention to the “freed-up” money that was promised to more police and fire personnel. City departments are already lining up to “divvy up” the windfall.

There is good news for the voters who opposed the fee. In 2015, Colorado Springs voted overwhelmingly for a tax increase to fix the potholes. That ballot issue, called 2C, passed by 65%-35%. Looking at just raw vote totals, this means more than 8,578 more voters said “no” to giving money to the City between the 2015 and 2017 ballot issues. And given that Invest in COS, the organization formed to advocate for the passage of 2A, outspent SpringsTaxpayers.com by a 10-1 margin (approximately $400,000 to $40,000), that’s quite a change in voter attitudes.

Go Forward Strategy for SpringsTaxpayers.com

Our strategy will be two pronged:

1) Address local issues by holding Colorado Springs and El Paso County politicians accountable to the citizens to provide good value for their tax dollar, and to put a stop to the out of control growth of local government.

2) Collaborate with other Colorado think-tanks to educate voters on TABOR, an issue that affects the entire state. Many fiscal issues in the City and County will do double-duty, as the spirit of TABOR is a part of every increase —whether or not it goes to the ballot.

Strategic Approach

  • Continue our mission of holding our local politicians accountable to the citizens of Colorado Springs and El Paso County
  • Monitor the City Council and County Commissioners activities and hold the politicians accountable for delivering on their promises
  • Speak out through media campaigns and earned media to create public awareness and educate Colorado Springs and El Paso County citizens on issues impacting their pocketbooks
  • Relentlessly expose the Mayor, City Council, and County Commissioners if they ask for more money from the citizens of Colorado Springs without first prioritizing existing budgets
  • Be leaders with the issues impacting changes to TABOR

This organization would not be possible without your leadership and financial support.

Thank you

Laura Carno