NEW STUDY: When it comes to Education, We’re Paying More for Less

One of the greatest lies ever told to the American public – aside from President Obama’s “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” – is the notion that our public schools are under funded.

A new Cato Institute study, State Education Trends: Academic Performance and Spending over the Past 40 Years, uses adjusted state SAT score averages to track how educational performance trends compare to state spending over the last four decades.   The study’s conclusion is appalling:

The performance of 17-year-olds has been essentially stagnant across all subjects despite a near tripling of the inflation- adjusted cost of putting a child through the K–12 system.

Here is what that trend looks like in Colorado:

 

Conservatives have been beating this drum for a while, but it’s hard for parents to believe them when the school supply list never gets any shorter and fees keep increasing.

The truth is, too much of the money we send to our schools ends up in administration and not the classrooms.  We saw this debate play out last summer when Democrats tried to pass Amendment 66, a billion dollar tax increase for education.  While the measure failed miserably, it had more to do with the fact that voters were against the billion-dollar tax increase part rather than the spending more money on education part.

But lack of proper funding is clearly not the reason for stagnant results, and it’s time that the mainstream media start calling the Left out when they try to make that claim.

 

TAX HIKE DEFEAT: Amendment 66 Goes Down Despite Outspending Opponents By Millions

The billion dollar tax increase, backed by $10 million from primarily the teachers unions and out-of-state donors, went down hard tonight.

Opponents barely had two nickels to rub together.

Final results are still being tabulated but it’s all over but for the Fat Lady.

With results like these, it’s virtually impossible for backers of the tax increase to make up the gap.

It looks like big money can’t buy a recall in Colorado or a tax increase.

UPDATE: The Associated Press calls it:

 

“FLAT WRONG”: Denver Post Takes Hick To Task For Lying About Pot Tax

Earlier this week conservative group Compass Colorado caught Governor Hickenlooper lying to national reporters about where the money from the proposed pot tax Prop AA would go. Hickenlooper told the reporters that the money wouldn’t go to “public education or anything like that.”

Except the first $40 million goes to building schools.

Rather than admit his lie, Hick’s spokesman made a rather pathetic attempt to excuse away his flub. For some reason, the governor’s political team seems almost incapable of admitting mistakes.

And now the Denver Post editorial board is taking the governor to task, calling him “flat wrong”:

Sometimes politicians should just admit they misspoke rather than than try to explain a dubious statement away…

But instead of just saying as much, the governor’s spokesman offered this explanation:

“Public education is not the same as school construction. The governor didn’t say the money goes into the classroom. We know some of the money goes for school construction.”

Actually, funding for school construction is funding for public education. And not only that, Amendment 64 backers sold it last year in part on the basis that it funded schools.

As we pointed out yesterday, Hick’s flub has come back to bite him in more than one way. First he gets hit for lying to the public, and two he generated a round of stories about how Prop AA funds education. That is exactly what Hickenlooper and other supporters of the billion dollar income tax increase Amendment 66 hoped to avoid at the time when ballots were arriving in voters’ mailboxes.

Thanks, Hick, we opponents of Amendment 66 appreciate it.

 

#HICKHIKE: AFP Blasts The Guv For The Billion Dollar Tax Hike In New Ad

The billion dollar tax hike slated to be on the ballot this November won’t likely be the only political loser come Election Day. Governor John Hickenlooper’s support of the measure is all but assured to further erode the moderate image he’s sought to project since taking office.

While he may have announced his support for the tax increase behind closed doors, Americans for Prosperity Colorado want to make all Coloradans know about it.

Reports The Colorado Observer:

DENVER – A free-market group took aim at a union-backed plan to raise income taxes on Wednesday, referring to the proposal as the “HickHike,” and unveiling a new ad critical of Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper’s economic record.

The spot blasts Hickenlooper for his support of an across the board income tax hike, a controversial green energy mandate he signed into law that is expected to increase utility bills, and a much-maligned effort to create a new state logo that took over a year and cost taxpayers more than $1 million.

In addition to the ad, AFP Colorado also launched an online petition encouraging people to tell Governor Hickenlooper that they can’t afford a billion dollar tax hike.

Check out the ad below:
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OOPS: Tax Hike Signature Campaign Needs Line-by-Line Review of Petitions

The campaign to raise income taxes by a billion dollars a year hit a major snag on their path to the ballot today, with Secretary of State Scott Gessler announcing his office’s review of a random sample of tax hike petition signatures did not meet the threshold for approval.

Now the tax hike campaign will have to have all 165,706 signatures they submitted reviewed line-by-line.

Based on the 5% random sample reviewed by Gessler’s office, the tax hike petition gatherers had a validity rate of 56% — a far, far cry from the 97% validity rate seen in the Giron recall.

This is especially embarrassing for the tax hike campaign considering they paid a Washington, DC firm — Fieldworks — over $500,000 to get this done.

Upon word breaking of the decision, conservative group Compass Colorado was out with a statement:

“It’s no surprise that an out-of-touch Washington, DC firm – paid over half a million dollars to date – struggled to properly collect signatures to put a billion dollar tax increase on the ballot in Colorado,” said Compass Colorado Executive Director Kelly Maher. “When you have East Coast and special interests entering the state to try to impose their will on Colorado’s families, the result will never be a good one.”

Maher continued: “The need for review is a huge indictment on the claimed momentum of their campaign. The people of Colorado do not want and cannot afford a billion dollar tax increase at a time when our recovery is fragile.”

Considering that the tax hikers only need a 50% validity rate to get on the ballot, as they turned in double the necessary signatures, this isn’t likely to keep the issue off the ballot, but it will provide headaches for the tax hikers and a round of embarrassing press.

Welcome to the big leagues, Curtis Hubbard.

 

CLUNKER: Even Aspen Doesn’t Like Hick’s Tax Hike

Governor John Hickenlooper may be throwing his political weight behind the billion dollar tax hike campaign at a press conference tomorrow, but it appears he still has some of his liberal base to shore up on the issue.

The Aspen Daily News reports that the Aspen School Board is “struggling over” whether to support the tax increase because it would actually mean a loss of funding for Aspen schools, requiring the School Board to ask for another tax increase after the billion dollar statewide one passes.

Aspen School Board members are struggling over whether to support a proposed statewide income tax increase for education, because part of the new law would put a dent in state funds the local district receives to compensate for the area’s high cost of living…

The measure also would eliminate the existing school finance formula, which figures in cost of living in state distributions to local school districts. Aspen’s cost of living increase is one of the highest in Colorado, so the school district stands to lose millions over the long run if that metric is eliminated.

While exact dollar amounts are still being hammered out, Parker said the school board would likely come back to voters in two years to raise additional property taxes to make up for the loss funds if cost of living is eliminated from the state formula…

[Commissioner Rachel] Richards suggested to school board members that “maybe you could be neutral” on the tax increase.

Considering Aspen’s county — Pitkin — was one of only three out of 64 counties to support Prop 103 in 2011, this is not a good sign for tax hike proponents.

Someone tell Curtis Hubbard he’s got some calls to make.

 

DOUBLE OR NOTHING: 2013′s Tax Increase Asks For Twice As Much As Failed 2011 Effort

When voters read the blue book explaining the ballot initiatives this November it’s safe to assume they won’t all be engrossed to the end. In all likelihood most probably won’t read past the first sentence. After all, the Pew Center on the States found it takes a PhD level education to fully grasp the language.

All of which is to say the billion dollar tax increase is screwed.

To understand why, you simply have to look at the language voters will be reading when they receive their ballots.

Here’s the language voters saw about Prop 103 in 2011, which lost 63-37:

And, per Floyd Ciruli, here is the language that voters will see on their ballot this year:

It’s all really simple. If voters rejected an annual income tax increase of $536.1 million by a substantial 2-1 margin only two years ago, who in their right mind expects voters to pass double that amount?

 

HICK HAILS BACK ROOM DEALS: Governor Blasts Transparency In Government At NGA Conference

Hick prefers only ribbon cuttings and bill signings be made public

In what may be the 2014 version of Mitt Romney’s 47% comments, Governor Hickenlooper recently said that he believes politicians should be able to operate through back room deals away from the glare of public scrutiny.

Hickenlooper’s remarks to Time Magazine underscore his entire leadership style — unwilling to take clear and decisive positions, the governor believes he should be able to keep his positions on public policy private as much as possible.

Reports Time’s Zeke Miller:

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a potential 2016 democratic candidate for president, has a creative — and controversial — idea for ending Washington, D.C.’s partisan gridlock: start legislating from behind closed doors and bring back the earmark.

After decades of fights for transparency in government, Hickenlooper told TIME that those well-intended initiatives are making government and lawmakers less effective. “We elect these people to make these difficult decisions, but now they are in the full light of video every time they make a decision,” Hickenlooper said at the National Governors Association meeting in Milwaukee, Wis. on Friday. “We elected these people, let them go back into a room like they always did.”

The article was first picked up by KDVR’s Eli Stokols, and the right has quickly piled on.

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BIPARTISAN OPPOSITION: Coalition Fighting The Billion Dollar Tax Hike Launches

At a press conference yesterday, the bipartisan coalition opposing the billion dollar tax hike launched.

Led by former Democratic State Senator Bob Hagedorn, State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, and education reform activist Karin Piper, Coloradans for Real Education Reform (CRER) is the official “No” issue committee for the ballot measure.

Check out their website here.

Reports The Colorado Observer‘s Leslie Jorgensen:

Coloradans for Real Education Reform officially launched their “No on Initiative 22” to fight the tax hike which the opponents assert is a bad investment that falls short of reform.

“With no safeguards in place to keep this money in the classroom, this is a bad investment,” said Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton.

“This bipartisan effort centers on the fact we recognize the need for real education reform,” said former Sen. Bob Hagedorn (D-Aurora). “One of the best drivers for improving student achievement is providing broad school choice opportunities, something sorely lacking in Senate Bill 213.”

Whereas the vote on the spending bill attached to the tax hike, SB213, found only party line support among Democrats, the opposition campaign is being spearheaded by a bipartisan coalition of elected leaders.

Former Senator Bob Hagedorn’s opposition is no small deal either. As the Colorado Springs Gazette‘s Megan Schrader reported:

“For the first time in my life, I’m opposing a school tax initiative,” said former state lawmaker Bob Hagedorn, a Democrat who focused on education issues while in office.

Hagedorn said he would like to see more emphasis on providing school choice to parents and funding charter schools at an equal level.

“Senate Bill 213 is a lost opportunity the legislators had,” Hagedorn said.

Supporters of the billion dollar tax increase keep pointing to Ref C as proof that a tax measure can succeed. Unfortunately for them, unlike Ref C, the notable bipartisanship is occurring in opposition to the measure, rather than in support.

 

DENIED: Tax Hike Campaign Fails At Attempt To Low Ball Cost

The campaign committee to raise taxes by a billion dollars a year, Colorado Commits to Kids, is learning an early lesson in arithmetic.

After feeding the press low-balled figures on how much the tax hike will cost individual taxpayers, their fuzzy math is catching up to them.

Vic Vela from Our Colorado News nailed them on it today:

Initiative 22 would raise taxes on all Colorado taxpayers. The two-tiered proposal would raise income taxes to 5 percent on incomes up to $75,000. Incomes over that amount would be taxed at a rate of 5.9 percent. Colorado’s current income tax rate is a flat 4.63 percent, regardless of income level.

Putting that into perspective, the Colorado Commits to Kids campaign — the group behind the initiative — says that Coloradans with incomes of $30,000 would pay less than $1 a week more in taxes, or about $50 a year. A person making $150,000 would pay a little over $14 a week more in taxes, or $731 a year.

However, opponents correctly point out that those numbers are not based on adjusted gross income, which would mean those with a taxable income of $30,000 would pay an additional $111 a year, while those with taxable incomes of $150,000 would pay an extra $1,230 a year.

Our liberal friends at ColoradoPols today published a table provided by the tax hike campaign claiming the false figures for the billion dollar bill.

Thankfully, the media ain’t buying it. Brandon Rittiman of 9News broke down what the tax hike will mean for Coloradans’ income tax bills.

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