September 23, 2013
DENVER - Opponents of Amendment 66, which would raise income taxes nearly $1 billion a year to fund education, have released a poll showing much weaker support for the measure than backers claim.
Results of the September 17-18 poll by Magellan Strategies were first obtained by 9NEWS Monday. They contradict the public claims of State Sen. Michael Johnston, architect of the education funding proposal. According to the education news website EdNews, on August 1 Johnston told the state's Education Leadership Council that private polling showed 52-54% support for the tax increase.
The Magellan poll of 600 likely voters found 38% in support, 44% in opposition and 18% undecided when asked a simple question about the measure: "If the election were being held today would you vote YES to approve and support the amendment that increases taxes for public education or would you vote NO to reject and oppose the amendment that increases taxes to fund public education?"
Opposition increased to 52% and support remained at 38% when the ballot question was explained thusly: "As you may know, if passed Amendment 66 will increase the individual state income tax rate on all Coloradans. If an individual's annual income is 75 thousand dollars or less their state income tax rate increases from 4.63% to 5%. If an individual's annual income is more than 75 thousand dollars their state income tax rate increases from 4.63% to 5.9%. Knowing this information, do you support or oppose Amendment 66?"
"[The numbers] tell me this won't pass," former Republican state Senator Norma Anderson said. "You have the 52% that's just talking about the tax, that is against it. If I don't start with 55-56% in favor, I'm losing."
Coloradans For Real Education Reform, opponents of Amendment 66, have called on Sen. Johnston to release the private polling that reportedly shows more than half of Coloradans in support of the tax increase.
Amendment 66 would increase state spending on education by roughly one-third by implementing a progressive income tax. If passed, it would fund incentive programs for teacher performance, statewide full-day kindergarten and increased spending for "at risk" students.
"The only results that matter will be delivered after voting centers close and ballots are counted on Nov. 5," said Vote Yes on 66 campaign spokesman Curtis Hubbard. "Between now and then, we expect a majority of voters will decide to support making the small investment necessary to deliver smaller class sizes and the one-on-one attention that students throughout Colorado deserve."