Initiative to pay for preschool, full-day kindergarten qualifies for Colorado ballot

Coloradans are going to decide this November whether they want to give more of their money to fund full-day kindergarten, special education, English proficiency and preschool.

Initiative 93, which supporters call Great School, Thriving Communities, qualified for the ballot Thursday, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

“This will help us address critical needs and offer educational opportunities to all our students,” Buffalo School District Superintendent Rob Sanders said a statement. “We can address the growing teacher shortage crisis, fund programs for students with special needs, provide career and technical training to make high school graduates career-ready, and keep students safe.”

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The proposal is estimated to bring in $1.6 billion for public schools by raising state income taxes on corporations and people who make more than $150,000 a year. And while the initiative specifies where the money would go, it does give districts broad discretion on how to spend it.

Statewide tax increases — even those for education — have traditionally been a tough sell to Colorado voters. This initiative is the third attempt in less than 8 years. The last attempt was in 2013, and that initiative lost 65 to 35 percent.

This year’s education initiative needs 55 percent of the vote to pass.

The measure is the first to meet the new bar for amending Colorado’s constitution by getting signatures from at least 2 percent of voters in all 35 Senate districts. Coloradans voted in 2016 to make it harder to amend the state constitution.

Here’s what the Colorado Legislative Council, which creates fiscal impact statements for bills and initiatives, thinks will be the average tax increases if the measure passes: People who earn $150,000 to $200,000 would pay about $81 more per year; people who earn $200,001 to $300,000 would pay about $729 more per year; people who earn $300,001 to $500,000 would pay about $3,456 more per year; and people earning more than $500,000 would pay about $42,528 more.

The average corporate taxpayer would see an increase of $11,085 per year.

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Source:: The Denver Post – Politics


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