Measure to raise taxes for schools will be on ballot Nov. 1

Wednesday Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler said that enough valid signatures had been collected to place Initiative 25 on the ballot November 1. The initiative would raise Colorado income and sales taxes for the next five years, raising approximately $536 million in the first year.

If passed by voters, the state income tax rate would increase from 4.63 percent to 5.0 percent and the sales tax would go from 2.9 percent to 3.0 percent. While certainly viewed as a tax hike by some, this measure would restore tax rates to where they were in 1999.

From here on out, the initiative will be known as proposition 103.

“Coloradans will finally have the chance to decide whether to allow another round of devastating and short-sighted cuts to classrooms or to reinvest in our schools, our communities and our economy,”
State Sen. Rollie Heath said in a prepared statement. Heath has been the driving force behind the proposition, since first floating the idea last spring.

Supporters collected 142,824 signatures. To make it to the ballot, 86,105 signatures needed to be certified as valid. Based on random sampling, the Secretary of State’s office determined that approximately 98,369 were likely to be valid.

Bright Colorado said more than 800 people in more than 100 Colorado communities collected signatures during a 10-week period this summer.

“As we collected more than 142,000 signatures, Colorado voters reinforced to me that support for our schools runs broad and deep throughout the state,” Heath said. “Throughout the summer, voters all across Colorado thanked us for taking a stand and giving them a positive choice for our schools. During the past few weeks, we’ve seen momentum build as our already strong, largely grassroots coalition gathers support from a growing number of organizations and individuals. We are committed to a person-to-person campaign for our kids that will continue to build toward a positive outcome in November.”

Below is the ballot language for Proposition 103, as set by the Title Board and provided to The Colorado Independent by the Secretary of State’s office:

State taxes shall be increased $536.1 million annually in the first full fiscal year and by such amounts as are raised annually thereafter by amendments to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning a temporary increase in certain state taxes for additional public education funding, and, in connection therewith, increasing the rate of the state income tax imposed on all taxpayers from 4.63% to 5% for the 2012 through 2016 income tax years; increasing the rate of the state sales and use tax from 2.9% to 3% for a period of five years commencing on January 1, 2012; requiring that the additional revenues resulting from these increased tax rates be spent only to fund public education from preschool through twelfth grade and public postsecondary education; specifying that the appropriation of the additional tax revenues be in addition to and not substituted for moneys otherwise appropriated for public education from preschool through twelfth grade and public postsecondary education for the 2011-12 fiscal year; and allowing the additional tax revenues to be collected, kept, and spent notwithstanding any limitations provided by law.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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