Amendment 66 fails; Voters reject $1 billion education tax that would have created two-tier tax rate

Measure would change how state funds K-12

DENVER - Amendment 66, the $1 billion income tax hike to fund K-12 education, has failed in Colorado.

Voters statewide soundly rejected the measure, 66 percent to 34 percent.

The measure would have created wholesale changes for how Colorado funds public education -- from expanded preschool to more money for K-12 schools with high numbers of at-risk students.

The measure would have raised income taxes from 4.63 percent to 5 percent for taxable income up to $75,000 a year. That is equivalent to $472.5 if you earn exactly $75,000 in taxable income per year.

Income above $75,000 would have been taxed at 5.9 percent.

The school funding overhaul was approved by lawmakers earlier this year but required voter approval to take effect.

Amendment 66's loss means that Colorado will retain a flat income tax structure in place since the 1980s.

Despite the Amendment 66 campaign being better funded than its opponents, it did not have much influence on voters.  Even in Democratic strongholds of Boulder and Denver counties, the measure had failed or was barely even.

The two-tiered tax rate was expected to increase revenue for education by $950 million during the 2014-15 budget year. All of the additional revenue was to be deposited in a fund designated for increasing public education spending.

The amendment  would have also required that at least 43 percent of state income, sales and excise tax revenue be set aside to pay for public education.

The amendment would have repealed the constitutional requirement that the base funding per pupil increases by at least the rate of public inflation annually and implements legislation already passed by the state legislature to create a new formula for allocating funding to school districts.

Even though Amendment 66 did not pass, the governor has approved a $259.6 million increase for the Department of Education. The final budget has to be approved the Legislature.


-- Reaction to Amendment 66's loss --

"Tonight’s defeat of Amendment 66 is disappointing. Amendment 66 was never an ideal solution. (Brighton) School District 27J has lost more than $66 million in state funding due to budget cuts since the 2009-10 school year. The ideal solution would be for the state to restore public education funding to its previous levels before these cuts. Our district faces financial challenges and Amendment 66 would have met some of those  challenges on a statewide level. We now look forward to working with our communities over the course of the next year on how we address those challenges on a local level," said Dr. Chris Fiedler, Superintendent of Brighton School District 27J.


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