Monday, October 1, 2018.
There are some intriguing aspects to Amendment 73, which would add $1.6 billion to school spending statewide.
For school districts, the consistent drop in the percentage applied to residential valuations would halt. The rate applied to commercial, farm and ranch property would drop too.
The wealthy – those with incomes above $150,000 – would pay more in income taxes. In fact, they will be the source for most of the revenue increase.
But in total, Amendment 73 upends much of the current system for funding schools, however faulty, to impose techniques to collect significantly more money for pre K-12 in the state. And some of the changes would go into the state’s constitution, where modifications – additions, reductions or eliminations – are very difficult to unmake.
The amendment’s five income tax rates that replace the single rate would require voters to change them even if adjustments were needed.
None of what is in 73 has been subjected to any significant conversations or debate.
And it would increase the corporate tax rate. Is that what is wanted for small businesses, and businesses of all sizes which may otherwise be able to grow and hire?
It will also require county treasurers to apply two different calculations to property values, one for school districts and one for every other taxing district.
Uses for the new tax proceeds are half-designated in the ballot language: a jump in the per-student base, a likely increase in the number of low-income students and additional funding for special education, gifted and talented, English proficiency and preschool. That will consume about half the $1.6 billion. The remainder is to be spent as the legislature designates.
That is an understandable beginning, but what allocations might follow?
Colorado schools need additional money, but how much and where it should come from are worthy of detailed conversations, not a complex ballot measure and certainly not one placed in the constitution.
The organizers of Amendment 73 should surface after election day to explain their thinking. In the meantime, we vote NO on Amendment 73.
A YES vote on Amendment A would remove language that allows slavery from the constitution. The outdated language is there now to apply to punishment for crimes.
The state will continue to be able to mandate and carry out punishment as determined without the use of the word, or the expression.
Citizens can excise them from the constitution with a YES.