John Kinkaid: No to Amendment 66

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To the editor:

If there were a direct correlation between school funding levels and student academic achievement, then Washington, D.C., children would have the highest SAT scores in the nation. But there is no direct correlation, and D.C. schools are abysmal.

If passed, Amendment 66 would increase state income taxes by $1 billion per year and mandate that 43 percent of existing revenue would be spent on education and that all incremental revenue increases go to P-12 education. Together, that would put close to 50 percent of the state budget into schools, according to Ben DeGrow, senior education policy analyst with the Independence Institute. Average statewide per-pupil funding would increase from $6,652 to $7,426.

Regardless of fluctuating economic conditions in Colorado, school funding would be set in stone. And even more money would be sucked away from other needed programs and projects like highway repairs.

During this great recession, it is not time to squeeze more money out of family budgets. Work hours for many are being cut back. People are just trying to hang on financially. But if I were to vote to have my taxes raised, it wouldn’t be for education. It would be for highway repair funding. Our highways are in disrepair, in large part because of Amendment 23, which was passed back in 2000, and the recession.

When companies want to relocate, they look at tax rates and tend to steer clear of high tax states. Many people are flocking to Texas because of its low taxes. Colorado must remain competitive with our neighboring states like Texas, Wyoming and Utah.

The legislative analysts who helped to put together the election voter guide estimate that a family making $50,000 per year will pay 8 percent more in income tax if Amendment 66 is passed. For higher-income families the estimate is an increase of 18 percent.

Putting income tax rates and education funding levels into the state constitution is a horrible idea. And not increasing our income tax burden does not mean that we don’t value our children and grandchildren. In fact, I would argue that being financially responsible is taking care of our kids.

John Kinkaid

Moffat County commissioner

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