DENVER — A day after a carefully orchestrated roll-out of the campaign in
support of a $950 million tax hike that will make new investments in Colorado
schools, Secretary of State Scott Gessler informed proponents of Initiative 22
that he will have to examine petitions line-by-line to determine if it qualifies
for the November ballot.


Colorado Commits to Kids, the organization behind the campaign for the school
finance initiative, turned in more than 160,000 signatures on Aug. 5 — almost
twice as many as the they need to make the ballot.


But the signature verification of a random 5 percent sample of those
submitted petitions fell into a range that automatically triggers a line-by-line
examination.


Andrew Freedman, the campaign director, isn’t sweating what he believes will
be just a temporary setback.


“We turned in nearly double the required number of signatures, and the random
sample suggests we have collected more than enough to qualify for the ballot,”
said Freedman. “We look forward to that announcement before Sept.5 and will
continue building support for the initiative to make Colorado a national leader
in public education.”


Proponents needed to meet a very high threshold — the sample had to show a
verification rate that would project to at least 110 percent of the required
86,105 valid signatures in order for the initiative to move directly to the
ballot. The sample showed a percentage of presumed valid signatures to be
107.88.


Basically, the sample projected that the group turned in 92,892 valid
signatures. That’s more than would be required to make the ballot, but not
enough to avoid the line-by-line review.


By law, the secretary of state has until Sept. 4 to complete its review.


Opponents of the initiative, which proposes a two-tiered income tax hike,
relished Friday’s news.


“It’s no surprise that an out-of-touch Washington, DC firm — paid over half a
million dollars to date — struggled to properly collect signatures to put a
billion dollar tax increase on the ballot in Colorado,” said Compass Colorado
Executive Director Kelly Maher.


“When you have East Coast and special interests entering the state to try to
impose their will on Colorado’s families, the result will never be a good
one.


“The need for review is a huge indictment on the claimed momentum of their
campaign,” Maher continued. “The people of Colorado do not want and cannot
afford a billion dollar tax increase at a time when our recovery is
fragile.”




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