Could a new nicotine tax pay for free preschool in Colorado? Advocates want to ask voters in November.
Colorado voters could decide this November whether to fund free preschool for 4-year-olds statewide by taxing tobacco and vaping products.
On Friday, two citizens took the first step toward putting the question on November’s ballot, filing more than a dozen possible versions with the state’s Office of Legislative Council, which reviews potential initiatives before sending them to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office.
New taxes on a pack of cigarettes or vaping products would range from $1.20 to $2.60, depending on which version of the ballot proposal is selected. Currently, taxes are 84 cents a pack, among the lowest in the country.
The money from a new vaping and tobacco tax, which is sure to be vehemently opposed by the tobacco industry, would go a long way toward helping Gov. Jared Polis make good on his promise to offer free preschool to all 4-year-olds by the end of his first term.
One version of the ballot question would put $300 million more a year toward state-funded preschool. That’s far above the $27 million that Polis requested in this year’s budget and that, so far, lawmakers of both parties have been reluctant to endorse.
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Gore Creek since 2013 has been listed on the state’s list of “impaired waterways.” Several years of work are paying off, but getting off the list has become more difficult.