Pagosa Daily Post

Jonathan Lockwood

October 07, 2013

Special interest groups hope to pass a one billion dollar per year tax hike on Colorado’s families under the guise of education reform. The increase would raise tax rates for incomes up to $75,000 from 4.63% to 5% and would raise tax rates for incomes over $75,000 from 4.63% to 5.9%.

This represents a 27% state income tax increase on incomes over $75,000 per year, and an 8% increase on those making $75,000 or less. Colorado’s children deserve real education reform, which, unfortunately, this initiative doesn’t provide.

Our children are Colorado’s greatest asset, and we owe them the best education that we can provide. Colorado’s public schools are not adequately preparing our children for college or for success in life. Our children deserve better.

Forty percent of the state’s high school graduates need remedial classes once they enter college. (Colorado Department of Higher Education’s 2012 Remedial Education Report)

Unfortunately, Colorado’s education system needs reform, but this isn’t the reform we need. Amendment 66 doesn’t hold anyone accountable. Rather, it asks school officials to estimate need and does not include any metrics for measuring real performance results.

Only 1.9 percent of the state's billion-dollar budget surplus went to K-12 per-pupil funding.  Too much funding for schools goes towards administration and unions and too little goes to paying our hardworking teachers and to directly benefitting children in classrooms.  Less than half of Colorado's public school employees are actually teachers.

Over a 17-year period from 1992 to 2009, the number of Colorado administrators increased 83% while the number of students

only increased by 38%. Without this explosion in the public school bureaucracy, teachers could be earning $10,000 per year more.

Coloradans’ median household income as of 2011 (the latest figures available) is down nearly 7% since the recession began in 2008. Families cannot afford an 8% or 27% tax hike, especially since Colorado’s families earnings have declined.

This amendment is wrong for our children and it’s wrong for Colorado’s families. This initiative is unfair because it fails to fulfill the social contract we make with our children to give them the best education possible, while burdening our families and small businesses with a tax bill they can’t afford.

Colorado’s families continue to struggling with the lack of a robust economic recovery. Our so-called recovery is still fragile. Colorado’s unemployment actually increased in June and July. The number of Coloradans with jobs in 2012 remains below the number of Coloradans who had jobs before the recession hit in 2008. Colorado hasn’t yet recovered and our families are still struggling. They need jobs... and this tax hike may prevent some small businesses from hiring.

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