Colorado schools tax campaign for Initiative 22 begins in earnest

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. - A campaign to raise income taxes to pay for public school upgrades gets started in earnest Thursday.

Gov. John Hickenlooper will launch the public campaign for Initiative 22 for a Jefferson County high school. The measure would ask voters to increase income taxes nearly $1 billion a year to pay for school improvements including statewide full-day kindergarten.

Supporters of the measure have already turned in signatures to petition the question onto ballots. They're still awaiting a ruling from the secretary of state on whether they made ballots this November.

Opponents say the tax hike is too big and that the schools overhaul doesn't make the right kinds of changes to improve schools.

Here is a partial list of the spending proposed by Senate Bill 213:

- $100 million annually to the Education Innovation Grant Fund

- $80 million annually for distribution as special education funding

- $6 million annually to a statewide program to provide career opportunities for highly effective educators

- $5 million annually for funding programs for gifted or talented students

- $5 million annually to cover costs of a data system for a new financial and human resource reporting system

- $1.3 million annually for distribution to the boards of cooperative services

- $1 million for the costs of the mill levy vote

The Denver Post reported that to pay for the changes, Colorado's current income tax rate of 4.63 percent would be raised to 5 percent on earnings up to $75,000 a year and 5.9 percent for earnings above that threshold.

Read more about the tax increase in the Denver Post: http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_23536915/ballot-will-have-two-tiered-tax-increase-fund

Read Senate Bill 213: http://tinyurl.com/k9ba73c