Most of the Republican candidates running for statewide office have weighed in against the billion dollar tax increase Amendment 66. Of course they have — no Republican in their right mind would back a billion dollar tax hike. Even former Democratic State Senator Bob Hagedorn has come out swinging against this ballot boondoggle.
But last night State Senator Greg Brophy, who fought hard against the spending bill attached to the tax increase last session, leveled a particularly harsh assessment against the ballot measure.
He calls it a “sugar high” for schools that will eventually end up funding the massive Obamacare expansion signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper this year and force many rural school districts to seek another tax increase should Amendment 66 pass.
Read his full comments below:
RELEASE ON AMENDMENT 66:
Everyone who understands incentives understands that Amendment 66 is bad for business and the Colorado economy. Taking a billion dollars out of the economy, penalizing working couples and small business owners hurts our economy. Sending a message to entrepreneurs looking at Colorado from other states that Colorado punishes success, destroys jobs and opportunities for all of Colorado.
There are plenty of other reasons to oppose A66.
The money will not be used as promised. It never is. In this case nearly half of it will eventually be used to fund the expansion of ObamaCare in Colorado. In three years, the Cornhusker kickback, that low teaser rate offered by President Obama to sucker states into a bad deal, expires and the State of Colorado will be on the hook for hundreds of millions to pay for promises made last year and in previous years for entitlement programs that are on auto-pilot.
If the income tax increase doesn’t scare you, the property tax increase should. In order to receive full funding under the proposed new school finance scheme, many districts will have to increase their property tax rates – little Cheyenne County in eastern Colorado has to double its property tax rates!
Almost all of the districts that are facing property tax hikes are in rural Colorado. More of that “war on rural Colorado”.
For schools, it’s a sugar high.
If you are on a school board and think A66 will make it easier for you to balance the books for your school, think again. The initiative does away with your Amendment 23 protection leaving K-12 subject to proportionate cuts when the next recession arrives.
All this initiative really promises education is 43% of General Fund which is less than the average of what has been spent on K-12 over the past 10 years. During the last recession, funding for K-12 rose to 55% of General Fund.
But that’s not all. The scheme creates a new baseline of funding from which those recessionary cuts will be made. Guess what school district benefits the most from the new scheme? Denver, of course. So much so that in a mild recession DPS will find themselves no worse off than they would have been under our old school finance act and A23. That certainly isn’t the case for rural districts and Douglas County. When the next recession hits, small, rural schools will suffer the most.
The current school finance act was crafted by a bi-partisan interim committee that went all over the state listening to people from Wray to Ouray, and it passed with bi-partisan support 20 years ago. It still works fine. The new scheme that will be enacted with A66 was crafted behind closed doors. It passed without a single Republican vote. This measure is as extremely out of balance as the rest of the 2013 session was.
If you want to create jobs and/or protect education funding for the long run in all of the state outside of Denver, vote against this boondoggle. Tell the legislature to live within its means, just like families do, and stop this war on our economy and rural Colorado.