Denver might keep $1.3 million for climate initiatives

Referred Question 2J’s approval would let Denver keep excess sales tax revenue for climate initiatives.

Particles hang over Denver during a winter inversion, Oct. 12, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Particles hang over Denver during a winter inversion, Oct. 12, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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Updated Nov. 9 at 5:00 p.m. with latest election results

Denver voters looked ready to let the city keep an excess $1.3 million gathered from the city’s sales tax aimed at raising money for climate initiatives and fighting economic disparities.

About 70% of voters approved of Referred Question 2J, according to unofficial voting results released as of 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

Because of TABOR laws, the city had to ask voters whether it could keep the excess tax money raised beyond the $40 million expected when voters first passed the tax in 2020. This year’s approval allows the city to keep the extra $1.3 million, as well as any extra money raised in future years from the tax.

No organized groups advocated on either side, but proponents of the original sales tax promoted it as a necessary step in fighting the climate crisis locally. Denver declined to tax necessities like food and hygiene products, following fears of disproportionately affecting lower income people.

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