COLORADO- In a matter of weeks, Coloradans will be electing a new State Treasurer, a post that serves as the chief financial officer for the state overseeing the investment of Colorado’s tax dollars, the unclaimed property division, and serving on the board of our Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA).
Businessman Brian Watson is the Republican candidate in this race. State Representative (Dist 50) Dave Young is the Democratic party candidate. Both took part in KOAA News5’s THE State Debate on October 13th in Colorado Springs.
Brian Watson is a native of Colorado’s Western Slope who founded a billion-dollar commercial real estate business with assets in more than a dozen states. He’s run for office before but has not served in office yet.
Dave Young, a native of Colorado Springs, now serves as the State Representative for District 50, a district that is in Greeley. He’s a former math teacher who ran for a seat in the state legislature to fight for the rights of those with disabilities, according to Young.
During THE State Debate, both candidates voiced their opposition to Amendment 74, a measure on the ballot this year which asks voters to agree the State of Colorado should owe property owners fair market value if their property is impacted by government action. Watson and Young said this would create too much of a burden on taxpayers.
The Treasurer’s office handles the Great Colorado Payback intended to reunite people with unclaimed property being held in trust by the state. Many have complained about the system lately saying claims are not be handled in a timely manner. Young believes the system can be fixed by adding more infrastructure and people to the effort when so much money is spent on advertising and promotion. Watson believes spending more taxpayer money is not the answer, instead, he wants to evaluate staffing once in office to look for streamlining opportunities.
On the issue of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights in the Colorado Constitution, Brian Watson says he’s “very thankful for TABOR and what it has done for Colorado” in comparison to how other states lawmakers manage the people’s money, sometimes impacting their constituents with runaway spending. On the other hand, Dave Young points out, “TABOR is from 1992. The Gallagher Amendment from 1982. They were not meant to work together. a lot has changed I think it is time to take a close look at how those amendments interact.” He believes both voter approved amendments are working against the taxpayer, not for them.
Ballots for the November election were mailed out on October 15th.