Tax-issue backers raise $1.6M in two weeks

Initiative aims to fund public schools; donations now total $3.2M

The campaign to persuade voters to increase income taxes to fund public schools collected $1.6 million over the past two weeks, most of which came from people in the state’s business community.

And that’s an important point, say proponents of Amendment 66, which would create a two-tiered income tax rate system and is designed to raise an additional $950 million for K-12 spending.

The money brings the group’s total donations to about $3.2 million. That compared to the $10,000 raised by the group opposing the measure, Coloradans for Real Education Reform.

Gov. John Hickenlooper said the donations show there is wide support for the measure, but Jon Caldara, president of the free-market think-tank, the Independence Institute, said it’s more of a testament to the governor’s fundraising abilities.

“The man has pixie dust when it comes to raising taxes and debt,” said Caldara, who gave the opponents that $10,000. “Obviously his fundraising ability has not gone away, so the question is, will Colorado accept the lovable, quirky charm that Hickenlooper used to pass some of those things in the past (as Denver mayor), especially one that’s so blatantly unfair as this?”

Under the measure, taxpayers who earn less than $75,000 a year would pay a 5 percent tax rate, while those who earn more would pay 5.9 percent. Currently, all taxpayers pay a flat rate of 4.63 percent of their taxable income.

“What we’re going to do with the money is we are going to invest in a campaign that reaches as many Coloradans as possible in order to enlighten them on what we can do if Colorado is willing to make an investment in their schools,” said Curtis Hubbard, spokesman for the proponents.

Good luck, says Caldara.

“When you look into it, you see this is a really unfair tax increase,” Caldara said. “I cannot see that Colorado wants to raise taxes 27 percent, crippling small businesses for something that’s so blatantly unfair as this package.”

But if the measure is so bad for businesses, large or small, why are so many of them supporting it, Hubbard asks.

A large part of the coalition Hickenlooper spoke of includes numerous businesses, he said.

“They can argue that it’s going to hurt small business people, but our view is that this is a small investment that we’re asking everyone who pays individual income tax to make so we have smaller classes and more one-on-one attention for students,” Hubbard said.


COMMENTS

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If passed will the money, by-law, be guaranteed to go to education? Will it be placed into coffers that the head pixie may have access? I vote no.

“Gov. John Hickenlooper said the donations show there is wide support for the measure…”  “...most of which came from people in the state‚Äôs business community ....”  The amount of donations raised in such short time indicates that only wealthy business owners would want yet another income tax increase, amounting, AT LEAST, to nearly $1 billion.  Why don’t these wealthy business owners give their money to schools instead of promoting an income tax increase on working people?  I know of no owners of small businesses who support Amendment 66. 

How many average wage-earners want a state income tax increase of 8%?  How many average wage-earners will want Colorado to rank #3 in highest state income tax levels?  Why should income taxes increase by nearly $1 billion for education while the Colorado’s state education fund has $1.6 billion in reserve? 

Supporters of Amendment 66 have claimed that the first $1 billion would be only the “first bite” (yes, “first bite” is a direct quote) from taxpayers.  Passing Amendment 66 and senate bill 213 will open the door to another $3-4 billion more in tax increases.  Of course, those supporting Amendment 66 will not tell you any of this information.  They don’t want you to know this.  They want you to believe that it’s all about educating children and that it is not just another attempt to take even more of the money we wage earners work to obtain for our families.

Amendment 66 supporters want wage earners to be ignorant of another very possible direct result of its passage:  should taxes from the state be decreased here and retained for large school districts on the Front Range (ex. Denver), local taxes to support District 51 schools may very likely rise. 

How many tax increases must be imposed again, and relentlessly, on average wage earners?  Supporters of Amendment 66 and senate bill 213 don’t care.

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