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Education tax measure makes the ballot
DENVER, Aug. 9, 2018 — Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced today that a proposed constitutional amendment that boosts income taxes to raise money for education made the ballot.
Initiative 93 is the first citizen-initiated ballot measure to make the Nov. 6 general election ballot. It involves a complex formula for raising income taxes among the state’s top earners to raise money for education.
Colorado law requires that ballot-measure backers turn in 98,492 valid voter signatures — 5 percent of the total of votes cast for all candidates in the last Secretary of State general election, which was in 2014.
In addition, the voter-approved Amendment 71 in 2016 changed the requirements for proposed constitutional amendments. The education measure must pass with a 55-percent majority rather than a simple majority in November, and supporters were required to collect 2 percent of their signatures in each of the state’s 35 Senate district. The attachment shows the breakdown in each Senate district.
To examine the measures, go to the Initiative Filings, Agendas & Results link on the Secretary of State web page and the first set of measures marked “signature line review.” When you click on each measure, there will be a link marked “hearing result.” Click on that link and the ballot titles will say whether it is a proposed change to the Colorado Constitution or state statute.
In November, Coloradans will likely be voting on a scheme to raise the state sales tax to support state and local transportation projects.
Unfortunately, raising sales taxes would hit all the wrong people, and provide a particularly unstable revenue stream to fund this infrastructure.
It’s no secret that Colorado’s roads and bridges are a mess. They have failed to keep pace with the state’s growth, even as maintenance has fallen behind.
You either end your weekend trip to the mountains on Sunday morning or you pack a picnic lunch for the parking lot home. Daily commutes on I-25 come to a standstill between Colorado Springs and Castle Rock. And driving around Denver means a permanent sinking fund for front-end alignments.
We’re in this state of affairs because the Colorado legislature has consistently failed to spend money on roads and bridges instead of other pet projects. This year, the legislature passed Senate Bill 1 in an attempt to address the problem, but almost everyone agrees that the paltry spending past the first two years is an inadequate solution.
In response, the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Contractors Association have proposed raising the state sales tax from 2.90 percent to 3.52 percent, and authorizing up to $6 billion in bonds. The additional revenue would be divided among state highways, local governments, and multi-modal (transit) projects. Continue reading
Called the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, or TABOR, it took effect Dec. 31, 1992, and was designed to serve as another check against the growth of government. It requires that any increase in overall revenue from taxes not exceed the rates of inflation and population growth.
The TABOR Foundation, which was instrumental in advancing the amendment, maintains that it has been a successful measure.
Others maintain it interferes with advancing critical public spending initiatives. Sam Mamet, the executive director of the Colorado Municipal League, opposes TABOR. Mamet argued on the 25th anniversary of TABOR that “iIt is one of the most seriously damaging things the voters of the state have done to themselves in the last 25 years, in my humble opinion.”
Since its inception 26 years ago, many attempts have been made to amend, circumvent and litigate TABOR; the foundation counts at least 80 cases between 1993 and 2017.
Pfiffner said a perfect example of this is the 2015 lawsuit it filed, TABOR Foundation, et al. v. Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing, et al. regarding Colorado’s “hospital provider fee,” which it argues is an unconstitutional tax.