Colorado voters have an important choice to make on Election Day: to support or oppose a massive, 27 percent income tax hike. Amendment 66, if approved, would abolish Colorado’s flat income tax of 4.63% and impose a new two tier bracket system. Incomes under $75,000 would be subject to a 5% tax and incomes above $75,000 would be subject to a 5.9% tax. This is exactly the wrong path for Colorado. This tax increase will be devastating to families and small businesses across the state.
In addition to deciding whether they want to send more of their hard-earned income to politicians in Denver, Colorado voters will also decide on Nov. 5th whether it is sound fiscal policy to put a spending earmark in the state constitution. Amendment 66 mandates that 43% of all state sales, excise, and income tax revenue be allocated for public schools every fiscal year. According to a recent report by the Independence Institute, this would not translate into greater education spending or, more importantly, improved education outcomes. Even if birthrates fall, and the cost of education is reduced by new technologies, the amount spent on education remains unchanged under Amendment 66. So, no, Amendment 66 is not about education; it’s about more money for politicians at the state capitol.
If Amendment 66 is approved by voters, public schools are eligible to receive more funding based on the number of “at-risk” students enrolled. Schools determine this classification based on participation in the free and reduced lunch program. In doing so, Amendment 66 employs a flawed funding distribution formula that invites fraud and abuse. There is evidence of such fraud in other states where this formula is used.
Amendment 66 simply funnels more money to the public school system without making one change or reform that will improve outcomes. If a system is broken, simply throwing more money at it is not the answer. Instead of taking money out of the pockets of families and small businesses, Colorado officials should enact real education reforms that will have a measurable impact on the academic success of students. Higher taxes are never the answer.