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Amendment 66

Dear Editor:

How eager are you to pay more taxes to the state of Colorado? If you are just dying to pay more in state income tax, then by all means, vote in favor of Amendment 66 (S.B. 213). It will increase your state income tax by 8 to 27 percent. But, after all, it’s “For The Children” … again. It is titled, “Funding for Public Schools.”

This amendment, if passed, can’t be repealed except through another state constitutional amendment, and will allow the legislature to raise your taxes at their will, in the future. In the face of our economic turndown, the state has “suffered” from reduced tax revenue, so now they want to raise your taxes.  (They obviously don’t care if you’re “suffering.”) This is a tax increase of almost $1 billion. It exempts corporations.

Since Pagosa Springs is not in the urban Denver-Colorado Springs corridor, Pagosa Springs schools will receive fewer dollars per student, while the urban schools will receive substantially greater monies per student. It locks up 43 percent of the state budget, which makes it mandatory to spend on “Education.” What if Colorado has other natural disasters? Where will that money come from?

History demonstrates that just throwing money at education has only resulted in a flat or descending learning curve. The National Education Association places Colorado 26th nationally in per-student spending, not 49th, as claimed by proponents. The Colorado Education Association (read, “Teachers Union”) has thrown in $1 million to get this amendment passed.

This law makes it mandatory for 3-year-olds to attend government-approved schools. This is actually free “day-care”plus indoctrination, while they are still babies.

Too much funding goes toward school administration. Since 1992, there has been an 83 percent increase in school administrators, and only a 38 percent increase in the number of students. Less than half of public school employees are actually teachers.

This is only a tax increase under the guise of “Education Reform.”

Vote no on Amendment 66.

Duane Branson

Editor’s note: 

1. Some rural school districts could experience as much as a 40-percent funding increase with passage of Amendment 66. The measure should result in a net gain in funding for every district. Financial transparency would be provided via a website that allows for the tracking of spending at the school level.

2. If passed, the measure would direct $165.5 million to full-day kindergarten and $77.5 million to preschool programs. There is nothing in the proposed amendment, as presented to the voter, that indicates mandatory attendence in early-childhood education programs. It proposes $100 million be spent on education-innovation grants to, in part, implement locally-driven changes such such as expanded school days, and that $381.3 million be spent on student testing, professional development for educators, early literacy and school accountability.

3. The tax impact depends on where taxable income falls in a proposed two-tier system (if passed, the amendment would do away with the existing 4.63 flat rate). It is expected that those earning up to $75,000 in taxable income would experience a 5-percent levy. Those earning more would see tax at 5.9 percent. Most current estimates show an income of $35,000 taxed an additional $130 annually. An $85,000 income would entail $405 more than is paid under the flat rate. An income of $135,000 would require $1,040 more per year. 

4. Nothing in the proposed amendment, as written, indicates the legislature can raise the tax rates. The amendment would in effect “De-Bruce” the tax, in that revenues attributable to the measure can be collected and spent without future voter approval.

This story was posted on October 17, 2013.
  • StephenGiesen

    Two Questioins-
    1. Accountability for how money is spent is important. More important is ennhancement of educational achievement. When you invest in anything, the paramount principle is positive return. Is there a means monitoring a relationship between Amendment 66 spending and educational achievement? Is there a consequence for districts that procuce negative results in spite of being given additional funding?
    2. It is rather apparent that considerable special interest money is behind this process. All one has to do is pay attention to all the ads bombarding all forms of the media to see this. We have teachers and administrators that complain about a lack of funding, but yet their special interest organnizations have millions of dollars to spend on electioins. Does this not somehow contaminate the entire Amendment 66 process?

  • StephenGiesen

    Two Questions-
    1. Accountability for how money is spent is important. More important is enhancement of educational achievement. When you invest in anything, the paramount principle is positive return. Is there a means of monitoring the relationship between Amendment 66 spending and educational achievement? Is there a consequence for districts that produce negative results
    in spite of being given additional funding?
    2. It is rather apparent that considerable special interest money is behind this process. All one has to do is pay attention to all the ads bombarding all forms of the media to see this. We have teachers and administrators that complain about a lack of funding, but yet their special interest organizations have millions of dollars to spend on on elections. Does this not contaminate the entire Amendment 66 process?