Afternoon headlines April 25, 2017

Saying they do not have the authority to decide the County’s destiny on oil and gas drilling – the Boulder County Commissioners today said they will not extend a five-year moratorium past a May 1st deadline…and they will not impose an outright ban.

Citing the Supreme Court’s rulings against voter-approved fracking bans in Longmont and Fort Collins the Commissioners said they would not go head-to-head with the courts despite pleas from county residents to do just that.

Instead they will work with staff to refine and impose the toughest restrictions on fracking in the state. The commissioners said they are not giving up the fight but encouraged those attending the hearing to take the issue to the state legislature – where tougher laws against fracking can be adopted.

The decision comes after Crestone Peak Resources submitted the first application in five years to drill for gas and oil on 12 square miles in east Boulder County with a proposal for 216 wells.

Earlier this week, students at CU Boulder staged a sit-in at Old Main as part of ongoing efforts to get the university to divest from fossil fuels. Monday’s action is part of a nationwide divestment movement targeting universities.

Longmont’s City Council will hear a request this evening that it take steps toward officially designating Longmont to be a sanctuary city. That would mean the city would formally acknowledge that it offers the same protections to its undocumented and documented immigrant residents that it provides to the community’s U.S. citizens.

Boulder, Lafayette, Denver and Aurora have declared themselves to be sanctuary cities.

In February, a Republican lawmaker from Colorado Springs introduced legislation that targeted sanctuary cities by allowing victims of certain crimes committed by people in the country without documentation, to sue politicians who refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities. The bill didn’t make it out of committee. The Trump administration has threatened sanctuary cities that do not comply with federal immigration law, with possible denial of criminal justice grants and other federal funding. Despite the threats, more and more cities around the country are declaring themselves to be sanctuary communities.

A new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy finds that young immigrants who are eligible for the DACA program (deferred action for childhood arrivals) are collectively contributing $2 billion annually in state and local taxes nationwide.

In Colorado, DACA-eligible individuals now pay nearly $34 million in state and local taxes, a number that would be nearly cut in half if DACA protections are lost.

The Trump Administration has said it would honor the DACA executive order signed by President Obama however at least one DACA recipient has been deported, despite having no criminal record and having up to date papers.

Nationally, the 1.3 million DACA-eligible population pays an average effective tax rate of 8.9 percent, which is on par with the state and local tax rate paid by the middle 20 percent of Americans. The new report (State and Local Tax Contributions of Young Undocumented Immigrants) analyzed taxes paid by working immigrants eligible for and receiving DACA (852,000 people), as well as taxes paid by those eligible for but not receiving DACA (453,000 people).

The report was released by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy. The Colorado Fiscal Institute estimates that in Colorado there are 18,830 people enrolled in DACA with 4,170 people who are eligible for the program but not enrolled.

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