No new taxes for schools
Coloradans demonstrated again Tuesday they aren’t eager to raise taxes for schools, at least not under any of the plans presented to them in recent years.
With roughly two-thirds of the statewide vote counted Tuesday evening, Amendment 66, the school-finance plan on this year’s ballot, was losing by a margin of 66 percent to 34 percent, according to The Denver Post. In Mesa County, the vote against the amendment was 75 percent to 25 percent.
Although The Daily Sentinel supported Amendment 66, we recognize there were a number of factors that turned voters against it. First, there was general opposition to raising income taxes at a time when the economy is still struggling. The fact the ballot measure also would have created a two-tiered state income tax rate also worked against the amendment.
Additionally, there was the fact that the measure would have added another budget stipulation to the state Constitution. On top of that, although Amendment 66 contained a number of accountability and education reform provisions, opponents argued they didn’t go far enough. The fact that the amendment’s reforms were tied to changes in a bill passed by the Legislature earlier this year made it all the more difficult for voters to discern exactly what the measure would do.
Finally, budget projections over the past six months have demonstrated there will be $1 billion more for schools this year and additional money next year. That almost certainly reduced any sense of urgency voters may have otherwise felt to increase their own taxes for schools.
Colorado’s public schools, already among the thriftiest in the country, will have to continue to work within tight budgets.