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ICYMI: Ezzard comes home, CO middle of the road on taxes, first end-of-life patient dies

Author: Mike McKibbin - March 21, 2017 - Updated: March 20, 2017

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● Here’s a whatever-happened-to update: If you remember Martha Ezzard from her time as a Colorado legislator, you should probably check out the story in the Denver Business Journal. A couple of decades ago, Ezzard and her husband, Dr. John Ezzard, moved to Georgia to run an Ezzard family farm. They turned it into a pretty successful winery and are now selling it and moving back to Colorado. Welcome back, Martha and John!

● Hospitals across Colorado have been asked to decide if they want to take part in or opt out of a new state law that gives terminally ill people the right to pursue life-ending options, which earned overwhelming support from Colorado voters last November. The Glenwood Springs Post Independent reports three area hospitals, Valley View in Glenwood Springs, Grand River Health Center in Rifle and Aspen Valley Hospital, have decided to opt out. Those stances may change, though, once state regulators finish final rulemaking on the Colorado End-of-Life Options Act.

● Another voter-approved amendment, this one to increase Colorado’s minimum wage, seems to be having some predicted fall out, too. KDVR Fox31 reported some local restaurants say they are struggling to stay in business after Amendment 70 boosted the minimum wage from just more than $8 to $12 per hour. Corona’s Mexican Grill in Broomfield added a 10 percent service fee to all bills to keep employees working and menu prices down. Some customers the station’s news crew talked to seemed to take the higher costs in stride.

● Mass transit backers in Denver likely cringed when they read a story on Denverite.com, citing a study by Denver Moves, that found it can take up to three times as long to get to a Denver destination by bus than by driving. It was a little better by light rail, but it still takes longer. Seems RTD and Denver transportation folks have a big challenge ahead of them if they want to make a dent in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the roads and highways in the metro area.

● It seems every website and opinion poll that asks for the “best of” this or that comes back with a Colorado- or Denver-related answer these days. That’s either because people keep pouring into the state and its capital city, or maybe these polls are behind that surge. At any rate, the Denver Business Journal reported one key indicator — state and local tax revenue per capita — was not a top scoring figure: We’re right in the middle, 25th out of the 50 states, according to the Tax Foundation’s annual “Facts & Figures 2017” report.

● But on the other end of the taxing spectrum are public schools. Colorado Public Radio reported that when it comes to school taxes, Colorado homeowners shoulder an unequal burden. And guess what plays a big role in the current school funding situation? I’ll give you a hint, if you need it: That 1992 amendment that limited government revenue growth. Oh, of course, right?

● Gaining access to public records that local governments want to keep hidden can be costly. Under Colorado law, the only option is to go to court. The Associated Press reported that would change under a bill given approval by a state House committee and sent to the floor for debate. It would call for mediation to be pursued in cases were a citizen and a local government can’t agree about what should be released for public scrutiny.

● And, circling back to the Colorado End-of-Life Options Act, Kathy Myers became the first terminally ill resident to use the law to end her life, as 9News reported in an emotional story featuring her husband, Herb, recalling what happened to his wife and why.

Mike McKibbin

Mike McKibbin

Mike McKibbin is a Denver and Washington political reporter for The Colorado Statesman. A long-time Colorado-based journalist, he has worked as an editor and bureau reporter and won numerous Colorado Press Association and Associated Press awards. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcKibbin7 and email mike@coloradostatesman.com.


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