LONGMONT – Across Colorado, voters are being asked to decide one statewide issue this November: whether to raise taxes to increase public education funding.
The measure, introduced by state Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, seeks to restore Colorado's sales, use and income taxes to 1999 levels: Sales and use tax rates would be 3 percent, up from 2.9 percent – a 3.4 percent increase – and the income tax rate would be 5 percent, up from 4.63 percent – an 8 percent increase – for five years beginning in January.
Opponents of a statewide ballot measure that would raise an estimated $3 billion in new taxes to fund education launched an attack against the proposal this week, claiming it will cost Colorado 119,000 jobs after five years and deal a "crushing blow" to the state's struggling economy.
But backers of Proposition 103 charged that opponents don't understand how to interpret their own data and countered that it's cutbacks to school funding, not higher taxes, that will harm the state's economy.
The political fight over raising state taxes to fund schools and colleges started in earnest Thursday with dueling news conferences over an opposition study about the possible impact of Proposition 103 on employment.
While supporters of the Nov. 1 ballot measure have been organized for some time – they had to gather signatures to get the proposition on the ballot – Thursday also marked the coming-out party for a Republican-oriented opposition group, Save Colorado Jobs.