He’s been talking about it since early in the just finished legislative session, but State Senator Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, Monday launched his campaign to raise Colorado taxes in order to better fund education.
“I just think that investing in education is the best way out of the situation we’re in,” Heath said, referring to the limping economy.
His proposal, which will go on the ballot in November as initiative 25 (pdf) if he is successful in gathering the needed signatures, would raise state sales taxes from 2.9% to 3.0% and would raises state corporate and personal income taxes from 4.63% to 5.0%. Both increases would stay in place for five years.
All money raised would go toward education, from preschool to college in Colorado. The money could not be used to replace other funds already going to education and the initiative would set current funding levels as the benchmark.
Some Republicans in the Legislature said in February when Heath first floated this idea that they would oppose the tax increase.
Heath said the state cannot afford to do nothing, having cut K-12 education by about $200 million this year and knowing that the state will probably be looking at additional cuts next year.
“I know this is just a bandage but we have to stop the bleeding,” he said.
He’s joined with other eduction advocates to form Support Our Schools for a Bright Colorado to spearhead the campaign.