Colorado Public Libraries and the 2003 November Elections

Colorado’s November 2003 elections produced disappointing results for public libraries in the state, a reflection that voters are feeling the effects of the economic downturn and are reluctant to pass tax increases. Overall only 6 of 13 ballot issues for increases in public library funding were successful. Mill levy increases to operate libraries fared better than bond issues to build new ones. If voters were asked for operating funds alone, they tended to approve. If they were asked for capital funds, they didn’t. Asking for both types of funding reduced the odds of getting operating funds. Only one community, Louisville, voted in favor of both a mill levy and a bond issue to fund a new building project. Both requests were contained in one ballot measure. Table 1 summarizes the election results by type of ballot measure. Table 2 gives details about locations and voting percentages for public library measures (see full report for tables).

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