DENVER (CBS4) – Starting Wednesday ballots go out in an election that includes a statewide tax hike. Voters will decide whether to increase sales and income taxes to fund education.

“I’ve got a lot of push back on this and I’ve done a lot of hand-wringing myself,” said Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder.

When Heath said he planned to seek a tax increase for education in February he knew it sounded like crazy talk. After all, who floats a tax increase in this economy?

But that was then.

“We know that education is key to our future, it’s the key to everything,” Heath said.

This is now. Just three weeks before election day Heath has a measure on the ballot and opponents are worried it might just pass.

“I think what’s happened since February when this crazy idea entered my head to now is I think there’s a sense of urgency we didn’t have before,” Heath said.

For Heath it sank when Gov. John Hickenlooper’s budget came out this year. It called for more than $350 million in cuts to education — after $260 million the year before.

“That’s when I said, ‘I’ve got to do something.’ I didn’t know what that something was,” he said.

Today it’s called Proposition 103 — a ballot measure that would return sales and income taxes to 1999 levels for 5 years. Sales tax would jump about 3.5 percent and income tax 8 percent.

“How many people do you know received an 8 percent raise in the last year,” John Caldara with the Independence Institute said. “I’m wondering why the government deserves an 8 percent raise.”

Caldara with the conservative-leaning Independence Institute says their analysis shows the measure would cost between 7,000 and 11,000 jobs a year.

“This is billions of dollars that will be sucked out of the private sector and put in government sector,” Caldara said. “That is money that will not be used to employ people in the private sector.”

“What’s going to cost us jobs is our inability to recruit companies here and people here,” Heath said.

Colorado is in the lower half of the country in per-pupil funding, and next year education faces another $300 million cut — unless Proposition 103 passes.

“Yeah, I think we’ve got more than a good shot at this,” Heath said.

If it passes, Proposition 103 would generate about $3 billion a year for education over the next 5 years.

Comments (10)
  1. Joe M says:

    Stop asking for more and start spending the rediculous amount you already take from us more responsably

  2. Chris says:

    A tax Increase?… How about all of you in office stop padding your wallets and use that money for the education. Why should we increase taxes when in the long run a small percentage of that will actually go to education and the rest find it’s way into your wallets. How about we start pay cuts for everybody in office.. I bet we’d find more than enough money there.

  3. Scott says:

    Strange thing about taxes… when you RAISE them… they NEVER seem to come Down but continue rasing

  4. Elsie Carreon says:

    I agree with everyone here. The next thing is when they want to raise more taxes again its going to be for education so these illegal people can get a free ride from us, the hard working tax payers here. While they dont have to pay taxes or contribute to this economy like you and everyone else does. We are going to end up like Califona. We are heading to that direction.. Just wait and watch.. Time to head to AZ or AL/MS where they are not allowed in the state

  5. carol says:

    Quit educating illegals!

  6. Alexis Wassel says:

    Wow, this is a fool’s game. Colorado is just getting some traction attracting new business (which is revenue) but .. increase taxes like this in a recession (the sales tax increase will make Denver competitive with the 10%’ers like Chicago).

    Now, suppose this DOES pass .. oh, the possibilities on the next budget round. with education funded from this, chop ALL current funding to divert to “fill the gaps”. Count on it, so easy for the politicians to do.

    What is next up (???) … a Proposition to hike taxes for roads and bridges, other infrastructure, duh?? Until people get back to work this is the start of a race to tax at New York, California. Illinois and New Jersey levels.

    One revenue interest in this economy is ridiculous.

  7. Alice says:

    I agree with those who comment on illegals. Get rid of them, no more money needed for anything bilingual and American taxpaying students will benefit. I will vote no on this.

  8. denvervet says:

    Guess everyone on here is voting no. I just feel its not a good time to take more money out of people’s pockets. Bad idea. Retire some of your teachers a bit early and hire new ones that will cost less. Its done all over in industry. I am not voting to raise taxes, its just not good business at this time.

  9. PaulC1958 says:

    Colorado spend over a BILLION DOLLARS on illegal aliens of which approximately $925 million is spent on K12 education. Sen Heath and his fellow Democratic have refused to do anything to reduce the cost of illegal aliens. In fact they want to increase taxpayer funds for in-state tuition at our community and four year colleges for illegal while at the same time decreasing funding for those same colleges and universities and thereby increasing tuition and fees for US citizens.

    I have always supported educational funding in the past, but no longer when the politicians refuse to do what the public wants. Around 40% of Democrats oppose benefits of all kinds for illegal aliens, and 72% of likely voters believe parents should be required to prove they are legal residents when registering their child for public school; only 21% oppose such a requirement. Only 32% believe that children of illegal aliens should be allowed to attend public school in the U.S., opposed to 53% who disagree (Rasmussen, August 2011). 81% of likely voters oppose granting in-state tuition to illegal aliens in their state, with 12% supporting tuition breaks for illegal aliens.

    Our legislators do not give a DAMN what the public wants, only what corporations an businesses want. There is very little we the voters can do and that is to stop giving them more money to spend on illegal aliens and their kids.

    VOTE NO ON 103

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