The people hoping to get a measure onto this fall’s ballot calling for a tiered tax rate for Colorado income tax payers ended their efforts to collect enough signatures to get it before voters in November.
Known as the Fair Tax Initiative, the proposal called for lowering the state’s income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.58% for anyone who earns $250,000 a year or less, but raising it for all others, as high as 8.9% for those who make more than $1 million a year.
The backers blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for its inability to gather the needed 124,632 signatures to qualify it for the ballot.
“Unfortunately, the extraordinary obstacles we faced this year hindered our ability to gather enough signatures to meet current constitutional qualification requirements,” the group, Fair Tax Colorado, said in a statement. “We were heartened by the popularity of our proposal and the excitement we saw from our growing base of supporters, but we could not overcome the effects of a global pandemic and a Supreme Court decision that did away with a viable alternative to traditional signature collection.”
The group is referring to a recent court decision that struck down an executive order by Gov. Jared Polis to allow such petition efforts to collect signatures remotely, by mail or email during the pandemic.
Other proposed ballot efforts, however, didn’t have that problem.
On Friday, a group seeking to create a state-run Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program turned in more than 205,000 signatures, while a ballot proposal to allow Coloradans to vote on any new or increased fees for government enterprises submitted 196,000 names on Thursday.
Still, backers of the Fair Tax measure vow to try again.
“For the past five years, we have been focused on lifting up the voices of everyday Coloradans who are tired of an inadequate, unfair and biased tax system that prevents us from having enough revenue to build the public investments we know make our communities stronger and more prosperous,” the Colorado Fiscal Institute said in a statement.
“The campaign is ending today, but our ballot work will continue,” the group added. “That’s because citizen initiatives are where tax policy is made in Colorado, and we need to keep Coloradans engaged on these critical issues.”
While this initiative is out of consideration, others still have until today to submit signatures on a variety of proposals, such as a ban on any prohibition on the use of natural gas in new construction.
Already on the ballot are measures to require voters to be citizens, reintroducing grey wolves to Colorado, prohibiting late-term abortions, opting Colorado out of the National Popular Vote Compact, increasing cigarette taxes and adding a new tax on vaping products that have nicotine, repealing the Gallagher Amendment and allowing bingo raffles to hire paid help.