A November ballot question asking voters to approve a state income tax increase is beginning to take shape, Colorado House District 61 Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, said last week during a community forum at the Holiday Inn in Frisco.
The question is being written following last session’s passage of Colorado Senate Bill 13-213, the Future School Finance Act. The measure, which passed on party-line votes in both the House and Senate, proposes state taxpayers foot the bill for a more than $1 billion boost in K-12 funding through an increase in state income taxes.
Currently the state income tax rate is 4.63 percent regardless of income, Hamner said.
According to a draft of the ballot question, the state income tax rate would increase from 4.63 percent to 5 percent for individuals and households with a total income of less than $75,000. The rate increases to 5.9 percent for individuals and households reporting a total income of greater than $75,000.
Hamner, a former Summit School District superintendent, was a primary sponsor of the bill in the House.
She told the audience of about 60 people she thinks the legislation is groundbreaking and could serve as a model for other states because of its focus on early childhood education through an expansion in preschool and kindergarten programs; investing in high-risk students, English language learners and gifted students; and reforming budget policies to provide for more transparency and greater accountability for how public dollars are spent.
“While getting the school finance policy right was a challenge — and I firmly believe we have done so — we all recognize that our biggest challenge is yet to come,” Hamner said Sunday. “The biggest challenge ahead of us will be convincing the people of Colorado by November to share in the vision.”
“While getting the school finance policy right was a challenge — and I firmly believe we have done so — we all recognize that our biggest challenge is yet to come. The biggest challenge ahead of us will be convincing the people of Colorado by November to share in the vision.”
— Colorado House District 61 Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon
speaking about November’s Future School Finance Act ballot question.