More you know, more you don’t like tax hike for schools, opponents’ pollster says

A recent poll regarding a ballot measure to increase income taxes to fund public schools shows that few are informed about what it does.

The poll by Magellan Strategies, a right-leaning pollster hired by the opponents of Amendment 66, Coloradans for Real Education Reform, shows that about one-quarter of the 600 respondents were either “very informed” or “somewhat informed” about the measure.

The question, known as Amendment 66, which voters will decide in a little more than a month, would replace the state’s 4.63 percent flat income tax rate with a two-tiered plan. Under it, taxpayers who earn less than $75,000 a year would pay a 5 percent rate, while those who earn more would pay 5.9 percent.

The poll shows that of those who said they were informed about the measure, only 38 percent said they strongly or somewhat supported the idea.

That percentage, however, increased for specific demographics, with 41 percent of women supporting it over men (33 percent), Democrats over Republicans (58 percent to 20 percent), and younger voters 18-34 compared to those 65 and older (57 percent to 32 percent). It also showed that 47 percent of Hispanic voters supported the measure.

“This survey reconfirms there is no appetite for a statewide tax increase,” former state Sen. Norma Anderson, R-Lakewood, said in a statement released by opponents of the amendment. “In the midst of a fragile recovery, pushing an unfair scheme like Amendment 66 won’t be received well by Coloradans.”

The poll also shows that when voters are informed about the measure, their support for it decreases.

Supporters of the measure, however, say the poll only focuses on what the amendment would cost and not on what it would do.

The measure, which is expected to raise about $950 million a year, is designed to fund K-12 education. If passed, it also would trigger a bill approved by the Colorado Legislature earlier this year that alters the way the state’s 178 school districts are funded, increasing what most currently receive.

“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.”

The poll was a live telephone survey of likely 2013 general election voters that was conducted Sept. 17-18 using both land line and cell numbers. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.


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