Breckenridge child care tax voted down; Summit County child care initiative OK’d
November 8, 2013
Breckenridge voters chose not to pass a new property tax increase that would fund child care scholarships. The local ballot question 2B failed, with 53 percent of ballots voting "no" and 47 percent voting "yes." With 1,117 counted ballots, the initiative was defeated by only 75 votes.
However, Summit County voters passed question 1A which continues funding for the Right Start project, with 65 percent of voters "yes" and 35 percent voting "no" on the measure.
Summit County Right Start Project 1A
In 2005, Summit County voters passed a local tax initiative to help support early care and learning with the Right Start Project. Right Start is designed to improve quality, availability and affordability of early care and learning for Summit County families. In passing 1A, voters extend the existing tax with no future end date. The proposal does not raise any additional taxes, it simply continues the existing property tax.
Breckenridge Child Care Scholarship Program 2B
This measure would have created a new property tax with the goal of raising $800,000 for 2014 and continuing annually to fund existing child care scholarships and assistance.
“Ultimately it has to be an important conversation that this is a priority for families living and working here for their kids to have high-quality care, affordable care, and that’s a challenge,” she said.
Without the tax, the town will continue to support the child care fund from budget reserves for now.
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Town councilwoman Jennifer McAtamney, a strong supporter of the child care funding, said she was surprised and saddened by the results.
"Ultimately it has to be an important conversation that this is a priority for families living and working here for their kids to have high-quality care, affordable care, and that's a challenge," she said.
McAtamney said she believed Amendment 66 brought out many people who were "anti-tax" and that might have impacted the vote in Breckenridge as well.
"The Little Red Schoolhouse, for instance, gets $140,000 of its operating costs from the scholarship program, so if it goes away, where do they get that money from?" she said. "We would have to go back to cutting teacher salaries."
She said the town did not hear feedback from voters about confusion about the tax, but McAtamney said perhaps there was a difference between the theory of the initiative and the actual impact on pocketbooks.
Surveys earlier this year showed support for the Breckenridge question, with more than 60 percent of voters saying they would back the tax.