As a parent, a businessman and a Colorado State Senator, I care equally about our education system and our job-creating economy. They work together. Like for many people in my district, supporting our schools is a priority but Amendment 73 is not the answer.
Amendment 73 is being sold as a panacea for education reform. It’s simply not true. This measure would do nothing to guarantee money goes to the classroom or improve student performance. In fact, if history shows us anything, the money is likely to feed increasingly bloated K-12 bureaucracies. Colorado spends more on administrative costs than the U.S. average: only 53 percent of total expenditures go to instruction.
Not a single dime generated from this massive tax increase is guaranteed for teacher salaries. Importantly, citizens need to know that it is the school district that sets salaries, not the state. Teachers are some of the hardest working professionals in Colorado. We should pay them accordingly. From 1992 to 2014, overall education spending increased by 15%, but teacher pay decreased by 11 percent. Meanwhile, between 2011 and 2017, the number of K-12 “administrators” skyrocketed 34 percent.
Amendment 73 is a $1.6 billion blank check that would represent the largest tax increase in Colorado history. If passed, Amendment 73 would instill new income tax rates for job-creating entrepreneurs and businesses in our state constitution, slash resources for local governments, undermine voter-approved TABOR spending limits, and open the door to a government spending spree.
Amendment 73 is guaranteed to kill jobs and eliminate Colorado’s competitive advantage in the region and the country. Colorado would go from having one of the lowest income tax rates in the nation to the highest in the Rocky Mountain West and the eighth highest in the nation.
According to an economic impact study by the Common Sense Policy roundtable, “with no performance impacts, over the next 20 years, the average annual loss of private sector jobs is over 11,400.” That’s why so many local chambers of commerce and business organizations have joined forces to defeat this harmful measure.
Perhaps the most damning statistic is what Amendment 73 would do to small business. It would force many small and independent businesses to pay an income tax rate as much as 37 percent higher than the rate applied to multi-billion-dollar corporations.
Amendment 73 is one of the worst things on our ballot this year. Please join me and vote no.
State Senator Jack Tate represents Arapahoe County.
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