Ballots have been sent out and now Colorado voters are going to decide on a $950.1 million tax increase for public education.
Amendment 66 would require at least 43 percent of all state sales, excise and income tax to go towards the state education fund.
The state's individual income tax rate would change from 4.63 percent to 5 percent on the first $75,000 of taxable income.
If the income is more than that, the tax rate bumps up to 5.9 percent.
"We just think the school system needs a lot more reform before they come to us and ask for another billion dollars per year," said Sean Paige with Americans For Prosperity Colorado, who is opposing the amendment.
"We've got a lot of programming that we know we want to do that we're unable to do, and with added resources we'll be able to do what we know kids need to have," countered Jan Tanner, the president of the District 11 Board of Education.
The amendment would also deposit additional tax revenue from the rate change into a State Educational Achievement fund.
"I think this is giving a carrot to districts to do the right thing. They'll get resources to do the right thing and they're getting the proper resources for the challenges that they have because of funding," said Tanner.
All of the money collected by the tax increase is guaranteed to go towards schools, but those opposing the amendment say they're concerned that there is nothing in the amendment that specifies what programs or reforms the money would be going to.
"I don't think anyone argues with the need to fund schools, the question is to create a $1 billion a year new slush fund for schools with no commitment that they'll change and no commitment that they'll produce a better product. I think it's short-sighted," said Paige.
Local school boards are already in charge of what curriculum and programs get funded in each district. These local boards would also decide where the extra money collected by the tax increase would go.
In the first fiscal year if Amendment 66 is passed, the money collected would go towards:
- The Educator Effectiveness Reserve Fund (up to 15 percent)
- The Preschool through 12th Grade Education Reserve Fund (up to 40 percent)
- The Public School Capital Construction Assistance Fund (up to 40 percent)
- The Education Technology Fund (up to 5 percent)
The Colorado Legislative Council has launched an online tool to give an estimate on how much Amendment 66 would cost you based on your taxable income. Click Here for the calculator.
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