Tuesday's election didn't go the way we hoped. The Bell strongly supported Proposition 103, and we are deeply disappointed it failed.
We thank those who worked so hard – especially Sen. Rollie Heath, whose leadership, passion and energy made believers out of so many. Thanks also to the Colorado Center on Law and Policy and Great Education Colorado, whose grass-roots campaign turned thousands of Coloradans into activists.
Talk about being off message. In the waning days of state Senator Rollie Heath's campaign to raise taxes by $3 Billion in Colorado through Prop 103, one of the biggest supporters of the ballot initiative, the Bell Policy Center, put out a "study" claiming that Prop 103 won't actually kill jobs (PDF). If the debate is framed over job losses, you can be assured it's not to the advantage of tax hike supporters.
The Bell Policy Center today is releasing a report that reviews research on tax increases and their impact on job growth and economic development. Proposition 103, the only statewide ballot initiative, would raise taxes, returning income and sales tax rates to levels that existed in 1999. The revenue raised would help counteract deep cuts to the state's education system.
Look at a list of endorsements for Proposition 103, the measure to raise taxes by nearly $3 billion for education, and you quickly see some of the most influential liberal organizations in Colorado.
ProgressNow Colorado, the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute and the Bell Policy Center have all lined up behind the tax-increase measure on the November ballot, as have dozens of other traditionally liberal-leaning groups such as teachers unions.
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 Bell Policy Center board of directors has endorsed the Bright Colorado initiative to temporarily return state tax rates to the level they were in 1999 while the state searches for a more permanent solution to its long-term structural deficit.