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John Deere ends support of ‘social or cultural awareness’ events, distances from inclusion efforts

NEW YORK (AP) — Farm equipment maker John Deere says it will no longer sponsor “social or cultural awareness” events, becoming the latest major U.S. company to distance itself from diversity and inclusion measures after being targeted by conservative backlash.

In a statement posted Tuesday to social media platform X, John Deere also said it would audit all training materials “to ensure the absence of socially motivated messages” in compliance with federal and local laws. It did not specify what those messages would include.

Moline, Illinois-based John Deere added “the existence of diversity quotas and pronoun identification have never been and are not company policy.” But it noted that it would still continue to “track and advance” the diversity of the company, without providing further details.

The move from the company known on Wall Street as Deere & Co. arrives just weeks after rural retailer Tractor Supply ended an array of its corporate diversity and climate efforts. Both announcements came after backlash piled up online from conservative activists opposed to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, sponsorship of LGBTQ+ Pride events and climate advocacy.

Conservative political commentator and filmmaker Robby Starbuck appeared to lead the criticism of both companies on X.

Starbuck posted that John Deere’s announcement marked “another huge win in our war on wokeness,” but said that it still wasn’t enough, calling on the company to completely eliminate its DEI policies and no longer participate in Corporate Equality Index scoring from the Human Rights Campaign, the largest advocacy group for LGBTQ+ rights in the U.S.

Starbuck, a 35-year-old Cuban American, told The Associated Press that “it’s not lost on me my kids would benefit from this stuff,” but he opposes hiring decisions that factor in race, as well as DEI initiatives, employee resource groups that promote non-professional activities and any policies that in his view allow social issues and politics to become part of a company culture.

“People should go to work without having to feel like they have to behave a certain way in order to be acceptable to their employer,” he said.

Starbuck and other conservative activists celebrated Brentwood, Tennessee-based Tractor Supply for taking a more aggressive approach than John Deere last month by pledging to eliminate all of its DEI roles while retiring current DEI goals and stop submitting data to the Human Rights Campaign.

But the move also sparked outrage from critics of the new position, who have argued that Tractor Supply is giving in to hate.

John Deere’s move has faced similar pushback. Eric Bloem, vice president of programs and corporate advocacy at the Human Rights Campaign, called the announcement “disappointing” and “a direct result of a coordinated attack by far-right extremists on American business.”

National Black Farmers Association President John Boyd Jr. called for the resignation of Deere & Co CEO John C. May and a boycott of the company on Wednesday.

The organization said that Deere “continues to move in the wrong direction” in regards to DEI and has “failed to show its support” for Black farmers since NBFA’s founding. It also noted Tuesday’s announcement arrives one month after the company agreed to pay $1.1 million in back wages and interest to 277 Black and Hispanic job applicants after the Labor Department alleged hiring discrimination.

The conservative backlash against DEI has extended to companies across industries, including previous boycott campaigns against Bud Light and Target over their LGBTQ+ marketing. Starbuck said he has a list of companies he is thinking of posting content about, starting with ones that have traditionally conservative customer bases. He declined to name his next target.

The ensuing changes to policy and corporate commitments aren’t just coming from company boardrooms. Leading HR organization Society for Human Resource Management last week announced that the 340,000-member lobbying and advocacy group will drop “equity” from its diversity and inclusion approach, although it said it remains committed to advancing it.

“Effective immediately, SHRM will be adopting the acronym ‘I&D’ instead of ‘IE&D,” the group said in a statement posted on LinkedIn. “By emphasizing Inclusion-first, we aim to address the current shortcomings of DE&I programs, which have led to societal backlash and increasing polarization.”

The move, in turn, triggered a backlash among LinkedIn users, some calling it “backward” and “shameful.” Others replied that they were planning to cancel their SHRM memberships.

Still others stress that prioritizing equity is critical for leveling the playing field, saying this kind of omission signals a shift in messaging that could have chilling consequences on efforts toward workplace equality.

In an interview with The AP on Wednesday, SHRM’s president and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. said the organization’s focus groups found general consensus around prioritizing diversity and inclusion, but “the E triggered like all sorts of emotions and responses.”

“You either loved it, you hated it,” he said. “If it’s so polarizing that people just abandon it, then we all lost.”

Legal attacks against companies’ diversity, equity and inclusion efforts have also drawn more attention following the Supreme Court’s 2023 ruling to end affirmative action in college admissions. Many conservative and anti-DEI activists have been seeking to set a similar precedent in the working world.

“The blowback and the potential vulnerabilities are real,” said Jen Stark, co-director of the Center for Business and Social Justice at BSR, a consulting network of more than 300 companies.

A vast majority of companies are “not taking the bait” and keeping policies in place “because it makes good business sense and it’s also the right thing to do,” she said. Still, she added, external pressures are building up.

The U.S. is also in a fraught presidential election year, with bubbling conversations about the prospect of Project 2025 — a term for the Heritage Foundation’s nearly 1,000-page handbook for the next Republican administration, which has become a cudgel Democrats are wielding against former President Donald Trump.

Stark noted that companies across industries are bracing for the prospects of potential changes in terms of their federal contracts, for example, which have historically been a powerful way to promote equity in workplaces.

That doesn’t mean companies will stop their DEI efforts entirely, she added, but they may have to change language or find new workarounds.

“All these flash points that companies are, sort of, limping between is the new normal,” she said.

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AP Business Writer Lisa Leff in London contributed to this report.

___ Savage is a reporter on the women in the workforce team. The Associated Press’ women in the workforce and state government coverage receives financial support from Pivotal Ventures. AP is solely responsible for all content. Find AP’s standards for working with philanthropies, a list of supporters and funded coverage areas at AP.org.

 

Elon Musk says he’s moving SpaceX headquarters from California to Texas

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Billionaire Elon Musk says he’s moving the headquarters of SpaceX and social media company X to Texas from California.

Musk posted on X Tuesday that he plans on moving SpaceX from Hawthorne, California to the company’s rocket launch site dubbed Starbase in Texas. X will move to Austin from San Francisco.

He called a new law signed Monday by California Gov. Gavin Newsom that bars school districts from requiring staff to notify parents of their child’s gender identification change the “final straw.”

“I did make it clear to Governor Newsom about a year ago that laws of this nature would force families and companies to leave California to protect their children,” Musk wrote.

Tesla, where Musk is CEO, moved its corporate headquarters to Austin from Palo Alto, California in 2021.

Musk has also said that he has moved his residence from California to Texas, where there is no state personal income tax.

SpaceX builds and launches its massive Starship rockets from the southern tip of Texas at Boca Chica Beach, near the Mexican border at a site called Starbase. The company’s smaller Falcon 9 rockets take off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and Southern California.

It’s just below South Padre Island, and about 20 miles from Brownsville.

Trump’s economic plans include proposed tariffs, tax cuts and no taxes on tips. Details are scarce

WASHINGTON (AP) — The first night of the Republican National Convention kept its official focus on the economy Monday even after Saturday’s shooting at a rally in Pennsylvania in which former President Donald Trump was injured.

Speakers argued that Trump would fix inflation and bring back prosperity simply by returning to the White House as president. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin lamented, “Tonight, America, the land of opportunity, just doesn’t feel like that anymore.”

But Trump has released few hard numbers and no real policy language or legislative blueprints, and most of the speakers Monday didn’t get into details either. Instead, his campaign is betting that voters care more about attitude than policy specifics.

Trump says he wants tariffs on trade partners and no taxes on tips. He would like to knock the corporate tax rate down a tick. The Republican platform also promises to “defeat” inflation and “quickly bring down all prices,” in addition to pumping out more oil, natural gas and coal.

The platform would address illegal immigration in part with the “largest deportation program in American history.” And Trump would also scrap President Joe Biden’s policies to develop the market for electric vehicles and renewable energy.

Democrats and several leading economists say the math shows that Trump’s ideas would cause an explosive bout of inflation, wallop the middle class and — by his extending his soon-to-expire tax cuts — heap another $5 trillion-plus onto the national debt.

The Associated Press sent the Trump campaign 20 basic questions in June to clarify his economic views and the campaign declined to answer any of them. Spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt insisted that Trump best speaks for himself and directed the AP to video clips of him.

By contrast, Biden has an exhaustive 188-page budget proposal that lays out his economic vision, even as his campaign had increasingly devolved before Saturday’s rally shooting into questions about his age and whether he should remain the nominee after a self-defeating June 27 debate.

A recent analysis by the Peterson Institute of International Economics showed that deporting 1.3 million workers would cause the size of the U.S. economy to shrink by 2.1%, essentially creating a recession.

Stephen Moore, an informal Trump adviser and economist at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, said Trump is unique in that he’s already been president and voters can judge him off his record in office.

“You want to know what he’s going to do in his second term, look at what he did in his first term,” Moore said.

Democrats have argued that Trump would be more extreme in his second term, using his own remarks to say he would put independent federal agencies under his direct control and use the federal government to settle scores with his perceived enemies. The Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 blueprint is a template for what a second term would look like, they argue, a claim that Trump has disputed.

But Moore said he believes that Trump would be pragmatic in office and focus on the needs of business to drive economic growth.

“There is an idea that it’s going to be like slash and burn — I don’t think it’s going to be a radical agenda,” Moore said.

Some of Trump’s plans have gotten bipartisan backing. Both of Nevada’s senators, Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto, are Democrats who would like to ban taxes on tips paid to workers, even as the Biden White House favors a higher minimum wage for tipped workers.

Companies do like Trump’s ideas to cut regulations and further lower the corporate tax rate from 21% to 20%. The tax rate had been 35% when he became president in 2017. Democrats, by comparison, want a 28% corporate tax rate in order to fund programs for the middle class and deficit reduction.

But Trump has also floated huge tariffs that he says would protect U.S. manufacturing jobs. Biden preserved the tariffs on China that Trump introduced and went a step further by banning exports of advanced computer chips to China.

Companies generally dislike tariffs — which are taxes on imports — because they can raise costs, which are then likely borne by consumers. An analysis by the economists Kimberly Clausing and Mary Lovely found that Trump’s tariffs would cost a typical U.S. household $1,700 a year in what would effectively be a tax hike.

Trump’s tariff plans could worsen inflation as a result, even though the Republican says in videos that he would reduce inflation. It’s unclear how Trump would lower inflation, which peaked in 2022 at 9.1% and has since eased to 3% annually.

“The tariff issue is extremely important — and people are not paying enough attention to the magnitude of the Trump tariff policy, what the consequences would be,” said Clausing, a former Biden Treasury Department official and professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

But tariffs might be more of a political winner than an economic strategy, according to a research paper earlier this year by the economists David Autor, Anne Beck, David Dorn and Gordon Hanson. The research found that the tariffs during Trump’s first term did not increase employment, but the tariffs did help Trump politically in the 2020 election in the industrial areas that lost jobs to China and other countries.

Clausing noted that Trump is proposing tariffs on more than $3 trillion of imports, a 10-fold increase over what he did in his first term. She noted that the tariffs could make it more expensive to bring in the raw materials that U.S. factories need while also raising prices for consumers already struggling with high inflation. She said she wants people to understand the risks Trump’s economic policies could pose before it’s too late.

“I think people will notice when everything gets wildly expensive,” she said. “This is going to be a huge disaster.”

 

Mexico plans to build passenger train lines to U.S. border

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s massive, debt-fueled passenger rail building program is not going to end with the administration of outgoing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, but will instead double, he said Wednesday.

López Obrador said his successor, President-elect Claudia Sheinbaum, is planning to build three passenger train lines running from the capital to some cities on the U.S. border. López Obrador and Sheinbaum agree she will build about 1,850 miles (3,000 kilometers) of passenger rail, double the amount he built.

Sheinbaum said the trains would be electric and would run at speeds of up to 100 mph (160 kph). Almost all of Mexico’s current freight trains run on diesel.

Sheinbaum said she was planning to build a passenger line from Mexico City to the border city of Nuevo Laredo — across the border from Laredo, Texas — a distance of about 680 miles (1,100 kilometers) at a cost of about $22 billion. However, the cost of most recent railway projects in Mexico have ballooned far above initial estimates.

Sheinbaum said she was also planning a train line from Mexico City to the western city of Guadalajara, for about another $3 billion, and said that rail line could be extended to border cities like Nogales, across from Nogales, Arizona, or other border cities further west if there was time in her six-year term.

Sheinbaum’s plan will involve army engineers directing private contractors to build passenger lines along the same rights-of way currently used by private concessionary operators to move freight.

That could involve moving the existing rail lines to make way for the new tracks, which might mean some disruptions to current freight service if existing lines have to be moved.

López Obrador had previously demanded that freight line operators provide passenger service as well, but that plan has apparently been shelved.

López Obrador also acknowledged there could be big costs associated with confining the expected high-speed rail lines with walls or fences, and costs associated with recovering rights-of-way that have been invaded by squatters.

Current private concessionary rail operators said they had no immediate comment on the plans or did not respond to requests for comment.

López Obrador said the project is expected to be nearly double the size of his own railway building programs, which included the $30 billion Maya tourist train on the Yucatan Peninsula, a railway across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec linking the Pacific and Gulf coasts, and a commuter railway linking Mexico City to the nearby city of Toluca.

The cost of those railways has led López Obrador’s administration to post a budget deficit of nearly 6% of GDP this year, while experts question how much the trains will actually be used in a country where most travelers currently use cars, buses or airlines to cover the thousands of miles the routes involve.

Observers say one of the key problems is that López Obrador’s rail lines — and apparently Sheinbaum’s as well — have been planned with a “build it and they will come” attitude, with little real effort to identify whether there is enough demand to justify passenger service to far-flung border cities.

There is little passenger rail infrastructure in U.S. border cities to provide connections for any Mexican rail lines that might be built.

López Obrador and Sheinbaum both belong to the Morena party, and Sheinbaum was elected on a pledge to continue or expand all of López Obrador’s policies.

The outgoing president has always said he regrets Mexico’s decision to hand over the poorly run national railways to private operators in the 1990s, when they largely dropped unprofitable passenger services.

But he also sees building rail lines as a way to create jobs and stimulate domestic growth.

“What does this mean?” López Obrador said. “Jobs, lots of jobs.”

 

CSI delves into Colorado’s Housing Market Disparity

The Common Sense Institute put some numbers and perspective to Colorado’s vexing challenge of housing affordability. Among the findings by the Greenwood Village-based nonpartisan think tank:

Since 2010, Colorado’s median home values have surged by 132.4%, while median household income has only risen by 65.2%. This growing disparity has widened the affordability gap for many residents. In 2022, the mortgage capacity for the median household was $344,468, while the median home value was $549,900. For the average household, the gap was even larger, with a mortgage capacity of $459,679 against an average home price of $712,426.

This mismatch means more Coloradans are struggling to afford homes, with the affordability gap growing from 46.8% in 2010 to 60.2% in 2022.

Despite more households being able to afford higher-priced homes, the market is oversupplying these expensive properties, making it harder for lower-income households to find affordable housing.

Addressing this issue requires building more homes and implementing state and local policy reforms, such as zoning changes and reducing the risks associated with condominium development. These measures are essential to close the gap between what households can afford and the current housing prices in Colorado.

Read the full report here.

Club 20 to host Summer Policy Committee Meetings in Edwards

GRAND JUNCTION — Community leaders from across Western Colorado will gather July 11 and 12 in Edwards at the Colorado Mountain College Campus to participate in Club 20’s Summer Policy Committee
Meetings. Club 20 members and guests will discuss many of the critical issues impacting the region.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to have discussions centered around some of the biggest issues impacting our region and have knowledgeable committee chairs and members to help guide our advocacy efforts throughout the state, said Club 20 Executive Director Brittany Dixon.

Club 20’s Policy Committee Meetings are free and open to the public with a small lunch fee of $10. For planning purposes, Club 20 requests that participants register at the Club 20 Events page.
Interested participants can also join via Zoom by registering for virtual participation.

Some of the topics to be discussed during this two-day event include Middle Mile Legislation, Rural Hospitals and Big Pharma, Stackable Credentials in Higher Education, Blue Mesa Bridge Update, America 250/Colorado 150 Program, and more.

All agendas can be found on Club 20’s website.

For more information or to register, visit www.club20.org or call at (970) 242-3264.

Club 20 is a 71-year-old non-partisan coalition of Western Slope leaders fulfilling the mission to influence policy, provide education, and convene Coloradans to uplift and advance the voices of the Western Slope and promote thriving, resilient, and economically healthy communities.

Boebert wins Republican House primary after switching districts

(AP) — U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert won the Republican primary in a U.S. House race that she jumped into last year, surviving a scandal over a video of her at a Denver theater and accusations of carpetbagging after fleeing what could have been a tough reelection bid in her current district.

Boebert built national hard-line conservative stardom through a take-no-prisoners political style in the House. That clout likely made it easier for her to weather the scandals of the last year, which included the video of her vaping and causing a disturbance at a musical production of “Beetlejuice.”

She beat a group of more traditional, homegrown primary candidates who had far less name recognition and generally less combative political styles: former state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg; current state Reps. Mike Lynch and Richard Holtorf; and parental rights advocate Deborah Flora.

Boebert is expected to also win the November general election in the district, which sweeps across a wide expanse of ranches, ghost towns and conservative parts of the Denver metro area that make up much of the plains of eastern Colorado. Its voters overwhelmingly backed former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

She said she switched districts to ensure another Republican could win her seat, which she nearly lost in 2022, and she blamed outside groups for targeting her. But she had already become a fundraising magnet for that other district’s likely Democratic candidate, who has pulled in millions that may help him flip a seat that has leaned Republican in recent years.

Boebert entered her election night gathering in the evening toting a pair of reflective gold sneakers sold by Trump and a white “Make America Great Again” hat with his signature across the bill.

While the theater incident and district jump rattled some Republicans, Gilbert Kendzior, 68, shrugged them off, saying, “Who’s perfect?”

“We need to get rid of the old farts.”

Kendzior said he voted for Boebert because she shakes things up. “It’s gotten too staid. Same promises, nothing happens,” he said. “We need to get rid of the old farts.”

The seat opened up after former Republican Rep. Ken Buck resigned from Congress. In a special election Tuesday to fill the remaining months of Buck’s term, Republican Greg Lopez, a former mayor of the city of Parker, beat a Democratic and third-party candidates.

Buck cited the divisiveness of today’s politics and his party’s devotion to Trump in explaining his decision to resign. That division remains a factor in the race and is also on display in another Republican House primary in Colorado Springs, about an hour’s drive south of Denver.

In the 5th District, Republican Dave Williams faced condemnation from his own ranks and demands for his resignation as GOP party chair, accused of using his position and state party resources to boost his own campaign.

The final straw for some Republicans was a recent email calling people celebrating Gay Pride Month “godless groomers.” The state party’s account on the social platform X also posted: “Burn all the #pride flags this June.”

Williams’ opponent in the primary was Jeff Crank, a conservative commentator who has a similar political platform but breaks in style and disposition. Both are vying to fill the seat of Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn, who is not seeking reelection.

Williams is a hard-line Trump acolyte who has parroted the former president’s lies about the 2020 election and attacked fellow Republicans who don’t align. Crank is molded in an older, more pragmatic GOP tradition.

As in the 4th District, the winner of the Republican-friendly 5th District will be favored in the general election.

Another GOP House race watched closely on the national level was the 8th District, newly minted after redistricting in 2021 and hotly contested with voters roughly split between the two major parties.

Republican state Rep. Gabe Evans, a former police officer, defeated former state Rep. Janak Joshi, a retired physician, in the race to challenge Democratic incumbent Yadira Caraveo. Caraveo won the 8th District, which stretches north of Denver, by fewer than 2,000 votes in 2022.

The primary winner will likely benefit from a windfall of support from the National Republican Campaign Committee, which is intent on defending the party’s thin House majority.

Farther to the west, among the Rocky Mountains and high desert mesas, a half-dozen Republicans were looking to replace Boebert as the nominee in the 3rd District.

The contenders include attorney Jeff Hurd and former Republican state Rep. Ron Hanks, whose differences largely follow the contours of Cranks’ and Williams’, respectively. Other candidates include Stephen Varela, a former Democrat who switched parties, businessman Lew Webb and financial advisor Russ Andrews.

The winner will be up against Adam Frisch, the businessman and Democratic candidate who lost to Boebert by only 546 votes in 2022, garnering name recognition from that close race. in the conservative district. Frisch raised at least $13 million for his 2024 campaign.

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Jesse Bedayn is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

 

What to expect in Colorado’s state primaries

WASHINGTON (AP) — Colorado’s congressional delegation faces a reshuffling in Tuesday’s state primaries after a retirement, a resignation and a relocation have ensured that at least a third of the state’s population will have new representation in Washington next year.

Tuesday’s primaries will also lay the groundwork for a general election in which two competitive Colorado districts could help determine control of the narrowly divided U.S. House in November.

In the 3rd Congressional District, two-term Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert faced a tough rematch with Democrat Adam Frisch, who came within 546 votes of toppling the congresswoman in 2022. However, when fellow Republican Ken Buck decided in 2023 not to seek a sixth term in the neighboring 4th Congressional District, Boebert opted instead to head east and run for Buck’s open seat, where Republicans enjoy a bigger electoral advantage.

She now faces a crowded Republican primary field that includes state Reps. Mike Lynch and Richard Holtorf, conservative activist and talk radio host Deborah Flora, Logan County Commissioner and former state Senate President Pro Tempore Jerry Sonnenberg and banking executive Peter Yu. Running for the Democratic nomination are speechwriter Trisha Calvarese, Marine Corps veteran Ike McCorkle and engineer John Padora.

Buck resigned from his seat in March, triggering a special general election to serve out the remaining six months of his term. The race appears on the ballot alongside the regularly scheduled primaries for the full term.

Several of the candidates vying for the full-term seat also sought the Republican nomination to fill Buck’s vacancy, but a state Republican Party committee nominated former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez, who is not running for a full term. He will face Democrat Calvarese and two third-party candidates.

Since her election in 2020, Boebert has become a polarizing figure for her combative style and penchant for controversy. The past year has been particularly chaotic for Boebert’s personal life, with a messy divorce, the arrest of her son in a series of break-ins and thefts, a health scare requiring surgery for a blood clot and her highly publicized ejection from a Denver theater for causing a disturbance.

Despite the controversies, Boebert likely improved her chances at reelection with the move to a district that former President Donald Trump carried twice with almost 60% of the vote. She leads the field in fundraising and has the backing of Trump, House Speaker Mike Johnson and the state party.

Back in Boebert’s former district, Frisch is unopposed for the Democratic nomination. He will face the winner of a crowded Republican primary field, which includes former state Rep. Ron Hanks, the state party’s preferred candidate. Although Frisch came close to beating Boebert in 2022, the district still leans Republican. Voters there gave Trump 53% of the vote in 2016 and 2020.

Colorado’s most competitive U.S. House race this fall will likely be in the 8th Congressional District, where first-term U.S. Rep. Yadira Caraveo is unopposed in the Democratic primary. Her Republican opponent will be either state Rep. Gabe Evans or former state Rep. Janak Joshi. Evans is an Army veteran and former police officer, while Joshi is a retired physician and has the state party’s endorsement.

Caraveo won her seat in 2022 with just 48% of the vote in this new district near Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins. Trump received 46% of the vote in the area in the last two presidential elections, enough to outperform Hillary Clinton in 2016 but about 4 percentage points shy of Joe Biden in 2020.

In the 5th Congressional District, Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn’s upcoming retirement after nine terms has created an opening for this Republican-friendly seat anchored by Colorado Springs. Political consultant and talk radio host Jeff Crank and state party chairman Dave Williams are running for the Republican nomination. Williams has Trump’s endorsement as well as that of the state party he runs.

Some Republicans including Crank have criticized Williams for using the state party apparatus to promote his own congressional aspirations. The Democratic nominee will be either River Gassen or Joe Reagan. Trump received 53% of the District’s vote in 2020 and 56% in 2016. Lamborn received 56% in his 2022 reelection.

Further down the ballot are contested primaries for state Senate and state House. About half of the state’s 35 state Senate seats and all 65 state House seats are up for election this year. Democrats enjoy about a 2-to-1 majority in both chambers.

Here’s a look at what to expect on Tuesday:

PRIMARY DAY

The Colorado state primary will be held Tuesday. Polls close at 7 p.m.

WHAT’S ON THE BALLOT

The Associated Press will provide vote results and declare winners in 35 contests, including six contested primaries for the U.S. House, seven for the state Senate, 18 for the state House, two state boards of education, one for the University of Colorado Board of Regents and one special general election for the 4th Congressional District.

WHO GETS TO VOTE

Registered party members may vote only in their own party’s primary. In other words, Democrats can’t vote in the Republican primary or vice versa. Independent or unaffiliated voters may participate in any party’s primary.

DECISION NOTES

By running for a different seat, Boebert exchanged Colorado’s sprawling westernmost district for its sprawling easternmost district. In the 3rd District, the most influential counties in elections are Republican-friendly Mesa to the west, which includes Grand Junction, and Democratic-friendly Pueblo to the east. The candidate who carries both counties, as Boebert did in the 2020 primary when she unseated incumbent GOP Rep. Scott Tipton, would be difficult to defeat.

In Boebert’s new 4th District, the key county to win is Douglas, nestled between Denver and Colorado Springs. Douglas has by far the largest population in the district, casting more than half of the votes in Buck’s 2022 reelection. A candidate trailing in Douglas would need overwhelming margins in the rest of the District to eke out a win. Douglas votes less Republican than the rest of the District, giving Trump about 52% of its vote in 2020, compared to about 60% to nearly 90% in other counties.

The AP does not make projections and will declare a winner only when it’s determined there is no scenario that would allow the trailing candidates to close the gap. If a race has not been called, the AP will continue to cover any newsworthy developments, such as candidate concessions or declarations of victory. In doing so, the AP will make clear that it has not yet declared a winner and explain why.

Colorado allows for automatic recounts in races where the vote margin is 0.5% or less of the leader’s vote total. The AP may declare a winner in a race that is eligible for a recount if it can determine the lead is too large for a recount or legal challenge to change the outcome.

WHAT DO TURNOUT AND ADVANCE VOTE LOOK LIKE?

As of June 1, there were nearly 4.5 million registered voters in Colorado. Of those, 26% were Democrats, 23% were Republicans and about half were unaffiliated or independent.

In the 2022 primaries, turnout was 12% of registered voters in the Democratic primaries and 15% in the Republican primaries. Colorado conducts its elections predominantly by mail.

As of Tuesday, a total of 449,721 ballots had already been cast, about 42% in the Democratic primary and 41% in the Republican primary. A total of 75,516 votes have already been cast in the 4th Congressional District special election.

HOW LONG DOES VOTE COUNTING USUALLY TAKE?

In the 2022 primaries, the AP first reported results at 9:04 p.m. ET, or four minutes after polls closed. The election night tabulation ended at 4:05 a.m. ET with about 90% of total votes counted.

ARE WE THERE YET?

As of Tuesday, there will be 133 days until the November general election.

 

Surgeon general calls on Congress to require social media warning labels

The U.S. surgeon general has called on Congress to require warning labels on social media platforms similar to those now mandatory on cigarette boxes.

In a Monday opinion piece in the The New York Times, Dr. Vivek Murthy said that social media is a contributing factor in the mental health crisis among young people.

“It is time to require a surgeon general’s warning label on social media platforms, stating that social media is associated with significant mental health harms for adolescents. A surgeon general’s warning label, which requires congressional action, would regularly remind parents and adolescents that social media has not been proved safe,” Murthy said. “Evidence from tobacco studies show that warning labels can increase awareness and change behavior.”

Murthy said that the use of just a warning label wouldn’t make social media safe for young people but would be a part of the steps needed.

Last year Murthy warned that there wasn’t enough evidence to show that social media is safe for children and teens. He said at the time that policymakers needed to address the harms of social media the same way they regulate things like car seats, baby formula, medication and other products children use.

To comply with federal regulation, social media companies already ban kids under 13 from signing up for their platforms — but children have been shown to easily get around the bans, both with and without their parents’ consent.

Other measures social platforms have taken to address concerns about children’s mental health can also be easily circumvented. For instance, TikTok introduced a default 60-minute time limit for users under 18. But once the limit is reached, minors can simply enter a passcode to keep watching.

Murthy said Monday that Congress needs to implement legislation that will protect young people from online harassment, abuse and exploitation and from exposure to extreme violence and sexual content.

“The measures should prevent platforms from collecting sensitive data from children and should restrict the use of features like push notifications, autoplay and infinite scroll, which prey on developing brains and contribute to excessive use,” Murthy wrote.

The surgeon general is also recommending that companies be required to share all their data on health effects with independent scientists and the public, which they currently don’t do, and allow independent safety audits.

Murthy said schools and parents also need to participate in providing phone-free times and that doctors, nurses and other clinicians should help guide families toward safer practices.

 

Colorado’s growth in property tax revenue: by the numbers

The passage of Amendment B in 2020 repealed the formula that had governed Colorado’s property tax rates for decades. The measure triggered a frenzy of lawmaking activity that has still not settled. So far, efforts to ordain a permanent successor to the Gallagher Amendment have been frustrated by rapidly rising home values, skirmishes over TABOR, and political unpopularity. The result, despite multiple rounds of temporary rate reductions, has been extreme increases in many Coloradans’ home property tax bills over the last few years—increases larger than would have occurred under the Gallagher Amendment. Although a bill did pass during the 2024 session that permanently altered the property tax system, two ballot measures further altering property taxes likely await voters this November.

Analysis by the Common Sense Insititute, a Greenwood Village-based non-partisan research organization, found that growth in taxable property values in 2023, has predictably led to a historic year for property tax revenue in 2024. The growth in residential property values, combined with limited rate reductions following the repeal of the Gallagher Amendment in 2020, underpinned the 2nd largest property tax revenue growth in the state’s history. The growth in residential property tax payments accounted for 17% of the average homeowner’s increase in expenses.

Key Insights into 2024 Property Tax Revenue Growth

Property tax revenue increased by $2.4 billion dollars in 2024. The annual increase of 19% was the largest since 1975. Since 2019, property tax revenue has increased by $5.4 billion (55%) and has more than doubled in the last nine years, growing over $8 billion, from $7.18 billion in 2015 to nearly $15.3 billion collected in 2024.

After adjusting for inflation, property tax revenue per Coloradan increased by $304 from $2,262 to $2,566 in 2024. Over the past five years, inflation-adjusted revenue per Coloradan increased by $440. Therefore, 70% of the population- and inflation-adjusted property tax revenue increase since 2019 occurred in just the last year. The statewide increase in property tax revenue was four times higher than the average increase in population and inflation (19% vs 4.5%) and five times higher than the increase in the average weekly wage (19% vs 3.6%).

There was a wide range of revenue growth across the state – 50 of Colorado’s 64 counties received net property tax revenue increases larger than population growth and inflation across all of their taxing authorities. Four counties experienced revenue growth below population and inflation growth and 10 counties saw nominal decreases in property tax revenue. Some of the largest adjusted increases were in mountain counties, while the decreases were mostly in rural counties in eastern and southern Colorado.

Property tax revenue for Colorado school districts increased by $1.07 billion in 2024 (17%), outpacing inflation and enrollment growth of just 3%. Student enrollment declined in the FY24 school year by 5,243 students, as the per-pupil property tax revenue increased by $1,225, growing to $8,540. 141 of Colorado’s 179 school districts received property tax revenue growth that outpaced inflation and enrollment growth. 38 school districts experienced total property tax revenue growth lower than inflation and student growth.

The growth in property tax revenue granted the legislature the ability to slow the growth in state education funding. The state share of school program funding grew by just $155 million between FY23 and FY25, while the local share grew by $1.1 billion. The strong growth in property tax revenue enabled the state to meet the constitutional requirement for education funding with a more limited increase in its budget commitment. As a result, a large beneficiary of the growth in property tax revenue is state spending areas outside of the public school system. The legislature’s decision to exempt school districts from SB-233’s taxpayer protections assures that the state share of school funding will continue to decrease. The state’s share of school program funding peaked in FY15 at 66.6% and will reach its lowest point in data back to 2001, 53%, in the FY25 school year.

The data used to generate this report were provided directly to CSI by the Division of Property Taxation prior to the release of the 2023 Annual Report. In some cases, some totals varied slightly from the published annual report, but any changes were minimal.

For the full report, click here.