Amendment 73: Massive tax increase is missing accountability
As the former chair of the House Education Committee, I was always a champion for teachers and students. As co-chair of a Legislative Study Committee which included outside research for financing our schools, I fought to be sure our schools received adequate resources. Also as a private citizen, I have supported local bond issues and rallied support for our school district over the years.
While I care deeply about education funding and reform, I cannot support Amendment 73. In fact, I am strongly opposed to this measure. Amendment 73 is being sold as a cure-all for education. It is not. Rather, Amendment 73 is a massive $1.6 billion tax increase that has absolutely no guarantee of education outcomes.
We all want to give our teachers a raise. They are some of the most dedicated, hardest-working and most underpaid professionals in the state. But this proposal does not have any guarantees that teachers would get all or even most of this enormous tax hike. This proposal gives a blank check for education without out any checks and balances to ensure where the extra money will be spent or if it will impact student performance.
If it does not improve education, what does Amendment 73 do? Amendment 73 would impose a massive $1.6 billion tax increase on tens of thousands of small businesses, farms, middle-income married couples and each and every homeowner in Colorado.
If this unprecedented tax hike is approved, Colorado would go from having one of the lowest income tax rates in the nation, to having the eighth highest — and the highest income tax rate in the Rocky Mountain West. Passage of this deceptively worded initiative is guaranteed to kill jobs and eliminate Colorado’s competitive advantage in attracting new business.
Coloradans have consistently named education as a No. 1 concern, and if you care about education as I do, let’s work together for improvement and reasonable funding. Let me assure you, Amendment 73 is not the answer.
The author is a former Colorado House and Senate majority leader and former chair of the House Education Committee.
Colorado’s clean-energy achievements are worth celebrating
Colorado is unsurpassed in its natural beauty, so it is not surprising that environmental conservation has always been a closely-held value. Fortunately, the advancement of clean-energy resources means that meeting the state’s growing energy demand need not undermine that tradition.
In fact, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Colorado has more than doubled its electricity generation from renewable resources since 2010. The state had 997 MW of installed solar capacity and 3,106 MW of installed wind capacity through last year, in addition to a diverse portfolio of other resources like cleaner-burning natural gas. It is also leading the development of innovative new technologies like energy storage and carbon capture.
Colorado’s economy has clearly benefitted from clean energy. The number of jobs in the clean-energy sector in the state grew by 6 percent last year, with over 66,000 people currently employed in its clean-energy sector.
These are achievements worth celebrating. Therefore, it was great to see Gov. John Hickenlooper recently proclaim “Clean Energy Week in Colorado” as part of National Clean Energy Week.
This initiative brought together communities, business, nonprofits and industry associations to further policy discussions and public awareness about common-sense clean energy solutions that directly address our nation’s need for abundant, reliable energy.
Gov. Hickenlooper should be commended for his vision of clean energy and for ensuring Colorado was a part of National Clean Energy Week. Hopefully it is a tradition that will endure in the Centennial State for many years to come.
Heather ReamsManaging Director, Citizens for Responsible Energy SolutionsChair, National Clean Energy WeekWashington, D.C.
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