Opinion: Proposition 116 would help families and small businesses

Jesse Mallory
Americans for Prosperity Colorado Issue Committee director

As Coloradans work to recover stronger from the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to remove barriers to growth and allow our state residents to succeed. Voters have the opportunity to do just that by approving Proposition 116 in November.  

This ballot initiative would reduce Colorado’s income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.55%, saving taxpayers more than $150 million a year. 

Letting families keep a little more of what they earn will help them manage things like health care and food bills as well as give them greater flexibility to pay for education, child care and other needs. For the thousands of small businesses that pay Colorado income taxes, it might mean the difference between weathering the economic storm wrought by the coronavirus pandemic and closing permanently.  

With more than 1 million Coloradans employed by small businesses, helping those shops keep the lights on until the economy is thriving again ought to be a top priority.

Unfortunately, the health of the Colorado economy is uncertain, both now and in the months ahead, so helping workers and families by approving Proposition 116 should be a no-brainer.  

According to a recent nonpartisan analysis by the Common Sense Institute, trimming the state income tax rate would boost private-sector job growth, expand the size of the economy and ease some of the hardship the COVID-19 recession has caused in our state. Those are sorely needed right now. 

We know that the response to contain the spread of the virus is continuing to damage our state’s economy and undermine the job prospects of our workers and families. More than 540,000 Coloradans have filed for unemployment since mid-March. And at least 20% of state residents fear that in the year ahead, they will lose either their home or their health insurance or be unable to afford to feed their families. Lowering their income tax bill would help ease those concerns.  

The argument against Proposition 116 always seems to boil down to the same overheated demagoguery: a cut to state revenue of just 1.2% would supposedly devastate the budget and impoverish our communities. But state revenue and spending have increased year after year and are projected to rise next year, even with the tax cut.  

Furthermore, Congress and the Federal Reserve have both provided significant financial assistance to states, including ours, to give them greater flexibility to mitigate the impact of coronavirus. Our lawmakers in Denver have ample tools to address budget priorities. 

Are our politicians so out of touch that they would begrudge working families holding onto a bit more of their own money? 

In November, voters can take matters into their own hands. 

In these challenging times, Colorado families and businesses need all the help they can get. After all, people don’t work to sustain the government; the government is supposed to serve the people.  

Given the pressure so many in our state are feeling right now, it only makes sense to approve Proposition 116 and take a small step to help them through these hard times. 

Jesse Mallory is director of the Americans for Prosperity Colorado Issue Committee.

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