PEBC is proud to support two ballot measures on Colorado’s ballot this November that would provide important support to the early childhood and K-12 sectors – please join us in supporting Amendment B and Proposition EE on your ballots this year.
Amendment B amends the Gallagher Amendment by eliminating language that prohibits residential property taxes from generating more than 45% of the total property tax collected in the State. When the Gallagher amendment was adopted in 1982, the assessment rate for residential property was 29%. Today, due to increases in residential property values far in excess of any increases in commercial property values, the residential assessment rate is 7.15% and, if the amendment is not repealed by voters in November, the rate is expected to drop another point or two in 2021. If passed, Amendment B would freeze the residential assessment rate and non-residential rate at their current levels, and would give legislators the ability to lower the assessment rates by vote.
Local property taxes fund schools, cities, counties and fire and other special districts. If Gallagher is not amended in November, the resulting decrease in property tax collections could be devastating for the state and local budgets, particularly in Colorado’s rural communities. Fluctuations in residential property rates also produce an unfair burden on local businesses, which shoulder an increased burden of funding local services.
Proposition EE incrementally increases the amount of Colorado’s nicotine tax and applies that tax to nicotine vaping products, which are currently not taxed. The increased taxes are expected to decrease use, especially among children and teens.
In the first three years of the tax, this revenue would be earmarked for a mix of uses – K-12 education, additional funding for rural schools, affordable housing, the State Education Fund, and the general fund in order to help Colorado regain footing after the COVID-19 induced economic recession. Beginning in 2023, the revenue will be used to fund preschool for four-year olds statewide. The revenue for preschool funding is estimated to produce $168-$187 million dollars in the first year, rising thereafter as the nicotine products taxes reach their new threshold.
We were pleased to see the early childhood funding include a requirement to provide additional preschool programming for children from low-income families and children at risk of entering kindergarten without being school ready. Specific programming decisions will be made through enacting legislation prior to 2023 (likely in the 2021 legislative session, to give provider’s an onramp to prepare).
PEBC’s Board of Directors – leaders representing the business and education sectors – strongly support both measures as ways to provide stability to the state’s education system, as well as providing relief and flexibility to the state budget overall.
Please remember to vote – all Coloradoans have received their ballots in the mail. To look up where the closest ballot drop box or voting location near you, please visit the Secretary of State’s website.