Explaining Colorado's Amendment 66

Oct 30, 2013

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Next week, Colorado voters go to the polls to vote on a state constitutional amendment to increase income taxes and fundamentally change how money goes to public schools.

Amendment 66 proposes to change Colorado from a flat-tax state and replace the structure with a progressive or graduated two-tier income tax system.

The amendment also would also fix the rate of funding for schools at 43% of the state's budget, rather than attaching increases in funding to the rate of inflation, which is how it works now.

State income taxes would increase from the current flat 4.5% rate to 5% for incomes below $75,000 and 5.9% for incomes above the split.

Proponents say the measure would raise $950 million in additional taxes for Colorado's schools.

In this radio discussion, Colorado Public Radio's Ryan Warner discusses Amendment 66 with an advocate for the measure, Colorado state Senator Mike Johnston, a Denver Democrat; and an opponent of the measure, Ben DeGrow, an education policy analyst with libertarian think-tank The Independence Institute.

Senator Johnston says Amendment 66 would dictate money goes directly to schools and links money to outcomes, rather than administration and overhead.

Ben DeGrow says the amendment could harm economic recovery in Colorado, the amendment does nothing direct to guarantee results for students, and no dollars are attached to success.  He also expresses concern about the fairness to taxpayers and inequity in how differently money would go to different districts.

At Colorado Public Radio's web site, hear the full discussion from CPR's program Colorado Matters.