State GOP lawmakers oppose statewide education tax
DENVER, Colorado – A proposed statewide tax increase to offset education cuts is being opposed by Colorado’s GOP lawmakers, and they’re asking the governor to join them.
Republicans in Colorado’s House and Senate unanimously oppose Proposition 103, Rollie Heath’s proposed five-year increase in the state’s income and sales taxes. Heath is a Boulder Democrat serving in the Colorado Senate.
Heath is calling it “The Big Fix,” and says the $3 billion it would raise over five years would stop the bleeding in education funding. That would give lawmakers time to come up with a more permanent solution. About half of Colorado’s state budget is spent on education.
But this is not the right time to ask for a tax increase, says the letter to Hickenlooper from Republicans Rep. Frank McNulty, speaker of the Colorado House, and Sen. Mike Kopp, the Colorado Senate Minority Leader.
“As Washington bickers, we can demonstrate broad bipartisanship around a critical organizing principle – that the unemployment crisis is the wrong time for statewide income tax and sales tax increases,” they said.
They assert that the measure could result in up to 119,000 lost jobs in Colorado, although they do not say what those jobs might be or where those statistics come from.
Hickenlooper has said he will remain neutral on Proposition 103.
“Voters have an unmistakable right to know whether the elected leaders they have entrusted with the reins of power believe this ballot measure is the right economic prescription for the state. We unanimously believe that Proposition 103 is not,” say McNulty and Kopp.
The question for voters is simple, Heath says.
“Does the average person have the sense that we’ve gone too far (in education cuts)?” Heath asks. “People tell me they believe in small government, but that these cuts go too far.”
“Is the pain enough today? Is the average family willing to part with $140 dollars to give their children a chance at a better education?” Heath asks.
While 29 states are asking voters for more education money, Colorado’s Proposition 103 is the only one coming right out and asking for a tax increase, according to analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.