Governor Approves Changes To Denver-Area Cultural Tax, Bill Heads To Ballot

The fate of a Denver-area cultural tax now lies with voters across seven metro counties.

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Friday signed off on the bill to amend and renew the Scientific Cultural and Facilities District (SCFD). Next the public will decide in November whether to extend SCFD for 12 years. Voters have approved two extensions to date -- in 1994 and 2004.

The new bill earned bipartisan support. It incorporates some changes, including one that's caused debate among SCFD officials, arts leaders and community members. That change concerns how funds -- more than $50 million last year -- are distributed among around 270 organizations.

"We appreciate the governor's leadership in keeping the SCFD healthy and vibrant," SCFD board chair Dan Hopkins said in a statement. "We look forward to making our case to the voters this fall about why the district merits their continued support."

The SCFD board of directors must now refer the renewal measure to the ballot in each of the counties served by the tax district: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson.

You’re going to hear more from CPR News this year about public art in Colorado. That’s driven in large part by the effort to renew SCFD this fall. We’re on a quest to help you understand this, and we'd like your input. What do you think about using public money -- your tax dollars -- to support art in your community? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook and Twitter.