Letter: A case for Amendment 73
Do you think Colorado’s kids deserve more than 39th place when our economy is in first place? Is your taxable income less than $150,000 yearly? If so, stop reading and vote “yes” on Amendment 73. If you need more information, read on.
Way back in 1982 we spent $232 per student more than the national average on our children’s education. By 2015, we spent $2,162 less than the national average. Why? How did Colorado’s kids get forgotten in this economic boom?
The answer is the one-two punch of Gallagher and TABOR. In 1982, the Colorado Legislature passed the Gallagher Amendment (the first punch) to maintain a constant ratio between residential and nonresidential property taxes. The residential property tax rate has been dropping ever since — from 30 percent prior to 1983 to 7.2 percent since 2017. Strapped local school districts and the state solved this problem by increasing mill rates and state spending; until 1992, when the second punch hit: TABOR, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. School districts and the State Legislature could no longer raise taxes without a vote of the people.
The people attempted to help our underfunded schools in 2000 with Amendment 23, but the Legislature “creatively interpreted” it and “creatively re-interpreted it” in 2009 by creating the “Budget Stabilization” factor. Seriously folks, you can’t make this stuff up. The Legislature chose to ignore the variables that increase costs for districts: size, cost-of-living, and the number of “at-risk” kids in a district.
Combine all these punches with inflation, and we sink to 39th place for education funding. So Colorado’s kids get ignored, yet second-, third- and fourth-home owners are flocking here to cash in on the nation’s third lowest property taxes, and big business is thriving.
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Yet who will work at these businesses? Who will provide the skills and service needed to keep Colorado’s economy growing? You guessed it: Colorado’s kids.
Our kids are better than 39th. Give them what they deserve. If you’re one of 92 percent of Colorado’s taxpayers who earns less than $150,000 a year, your income tax won’t even be affected. Vote “yes” on Amendment 73.
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