Local schools would get $11.6 million more if Initiative 93 passes, raising taxes on those making more than $150K | VailDaily.com

Local schools would get $11.6 million more if Initiative 93 passes, raising taxes on those making more than $150K

A statewide ballot measure, Initiative 93, would increase education funding $1.6 billion across Colorado, and $11.6 million in Eagle County. These students are cutting the ribbon at the school district's new auto shop, tech and transportation center.

EAGLE — A statewide initiative would pour $11.6 million into Eagle County's education coffers, if it makes the ballot and passes.

Initiative 93 would create a graduated income tax that would generate $1.6 billion statewide for education across Colorado. Eagle County Schools' share would be $11.6 million.

Supporters have until Wednesday, July 11, to collect the 98,000 signatures across the entire state for the initiative to make the November ballot.

In Eagle County, though, supporters have collected far more than the 2,000 signatures needed to put Eagle County over the top.

"We're having great success," said Wendy Rimel, with the Education Foundation of Eagle County. "We had people coming out of the woodwork. That's the sort of thing that keeps you going."

What is Initiative 93?

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Initiative 93 — The Variable Income Tax Rate Increase for Dedicated Education Fund and Property Tax Decrease Initiative — is a graduated income tax levied on people whose individual income tops $150,000 per year.

The initiative would force the state to fully fund education by removing a legislative technique called the "budget stabilization factor," which has underfunded public schools by $6.67 billion since it was implemented in 2009.

Eagle County Schools should be getting $5.5 million more in 2018-19 than they are, a shortfall blamed on the budget stabilization factor. Since that accounting trick started in 2009, Eagle County schools have lost more than $60 million in funding, according to the school district's budget data.

Under the new state funding package passed by state lawmakers last spring, per-pupil funding in Eagle County Schools will increase $486, from $7,945 to $8,431 for the 2018-19 school year.

If Initiative 93 passes, then local schools' per-pupil funding would shoot up by an additional $1,716 in 2018-19.

How Initiative 93 would work

According to Great Schools, Thriving Communities, a statewide group advocating for the measure, Initiative 93 uses a graduated income tax increase to raise $1.6 billion for Colorado's education funding. That income tax change will affect 8 percent of taxpayers.

• Those with taxable income below $150,000 won't see an increase.

• Those making $150,001 to $200,000 would see an $81 increase.

• Those making $300,001 to $500,000 will see a $3,456 increase.

• If your annual income is $1,779,900, then you currently pay 5.3 percent in income taxes. Under Initiative 93, that 5.3 percent would increase to 7.1 percent.

• It would also increase taxes on Colorado corporations by 1.37 percent, but not on LLCs and S corporations.

• That corporate tax change would move Colorado from third to ninth lowest rate of the 44 states that impose a corporate tax, according to the Colorado Legislative Council Staff's Fiscal Impact Statement on the initiative.

The $1.6 billion would be kept in a separate account earmarked for education.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.