Colorado Initiative Effort Begins for Higher Income and Sales Taxes

May 18, 2011

Earlier this year, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) proposed reducing K-12 education spending from $5.4 billion in the current budget to $5.1 billion for the next budget, and reducing university spending from $547 million to $519 million. The final amount, in the end, was a $228 million reduction. Seeking to reverse this trend, left-of-center advocacy groups are launching a ballot initative drive to increase the state's income and sales taxes:

The plan would raise state personal and corporate income tax rates to 5 percent from the current 4.63 percent. The state portion of sales taxes would go from 2.9 to 3 percent.

The additional revenue could be used only for public schools and the state's higher ed system and couldn't be used to supplant existing funding. The measure sets 2011-12 spending for schools and colleges as a floor. Lawmakers would decide how the additional funding would be allocated among school districts and state colleges and universities. Ballot measure text.

The higher rates, which are the same as those in place before the legislature reduced them in 1999, would be in effect from 2012 to 2017.

The proponents will need 86,105 valid signatures by August 1.

More on Colorado here.

Update: An earlier version of this post mistakenly identified Gov. Hickenlooper as a Republican.

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