Eleven days remain for supporters of Initiative 22 to collect signatures to put the measure on the November ballot.
Initiative 22, called the “Colorado Commits to Kids” campaign, is a statewide ballot issue to increase funding for schools.
Initiative 22 is connected to the school finance bill passed by the Colorado legislature this year. Senate Bill 213 called for a number of changes in school funding, but full changes will require Colorado voters to approve a tax increase.
If passed, Initiative 22 would provide $950 million for schools that would be used to fulfill goals set in Senate Bill 213.
The legislation’s goals include reducing class sizes, increasing access to pre-kindergarten programs, increasing access to full-day kindergarten, and increasing funding for special-education and gifted and talented programs. Those goals cannot be accomplished without a tax increase.
The increase would also partially fund reforms previously mandated by the legislature, such as the educator effectiveness and school accountability reforms.
The Colorado legislature cut school funding by more than $1 billion between 2008 and 2012.
Colorado ranked 42nd in per-pupil spending in 2011, according to the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data. That ranking drops to 47 when spending amounts are adjusted per $1,000 of personal income.
Governor John Hickenlooper has voiced his support for the initiative. Great Education Colorado is also among the many others supporting Initiative 22.
“This is Colorado’s chance to renew its commitment to providing a quality education to every child,” said Lisa Weil, Director of Policy and Communications at Great Education Colorado. “Initiative 22 will allow us to start reinvesting in our teachers, expanding education opportunities, and preparing our future leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, and citizens for the challenges of the 21st century.”
If approved, the initiative would increase the rates on taxable income from 4.63 to 5 percent for incomes of $75,000 or less. Taxpayers who grossed more than $75,000 would pay 5 percent on the first $75,000 of taxable income and a rate of 5.9 percent on taxable income above that amount.
Colorado’s taxable income rate was 5 percent until 1999, when it was lowered by the state legislature.
The initiative will not affect the Gallagher Amendment, which controls property taxes.
The deadline to submit petitions is August 5. The initiative will be assigned a different number if it receives enough signatures for the November ballot.