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Amendment 66:Funding for Public Schools

Full text of Amendment 66
Outcome: Failed


Shall state taxes be increased by $950,100,000 annually in the first full fiscal year and by such amounts as are raised thereafter by amendments to the colorado constitution and the Colorado revised statutes concerning funding for preschool through twelfth-grade public education, and, in connection therewith, increasing the current state income tax rate on individuals, estates, and trusts and imposing an additional rate so higher amounts of income are taxed at higher rates; requiring the resulting increases in tax revenues be spent only for improvements to preschool through twelfth-grade public education; allowing all tax revenues attributable to this measure to be collected and spent without future voter approval; requiring at least 43% of state sales, excise, and income tax revenues be deposited in the state education fund; and repealing certain existing public education funding requirements?


amendment 66: what your vote means


Approval of Amendment 66 would raise the state individual income tax rate from 4.63 percent to 5 percent on the first $75,000 of taxable income and to 5.9 percent for all taxable income over $75,000. The extra money - about $950 million annually - would be used to fund public schools under a new formula distributing state and local money among school districts. 

The measure would also repeal a constitutional amendment requiring that base per-student public school funding increase by at least the rate of inflation annually. And it would require that at least 43 percent of state income, sales and excise tax receipts be used for public education.


The state individual income tax rate would remain 4.63 percent, and the financing formula for public schools would remain the same. The state would still be required to increase per-student public school funding by at least the rate of inflation annually. The proportion of state income, sales and excise tax revenues spent on public schools would continue to fluctuate, averaging 46 percent annually since 200-01, but ranging from 34 percent to 57 percent.


amendment 66: campaign arguments


Arguments for the measure, from the Colorado Legislative Council Ballot Information Booklet (PDF link).

"1) One of government's most important functions is to provide children with a high-quality education. To improve schools, the state needs a long-term solution that is innovative, accountable for results, and transparent to taxpayers. The additional money provided in this measure allows local boards of education to target areas where research suggests that investments are likely to produce improved student outcomes, such as ensuring effective teachers are in the classroom, reducing class sizes, investing in preschool and full-day kindergarten, upgrading classroom technology, and giving principals and teachers more control over budgeting decisions in their schools.

"2) Investing in public education is the best way to ensure a strong Colorado economy capable of competing in today's global market. One of the top priorities of businesses seeking a new location is identifying a well-educated workforce. Since budget year 2008-09, the state legislature has severely cut P-12 funding, with funding for the 2012-13 school year $1.0 billion below what the funding formula would have required. Restoring this funding shortfall not only benefits the state's schools and communities, but also provides a positive signal to companies looking to relocate or to expand in Colorado.

"3) The measure simultaneously restores funding to public schools that have suffered severe budget cuts and provides taxpayers with needed accountability by measuring how the increased investment will affect student achievement. The state will be required to prepare a return on investment study and a cost study to identify funding deficits that affect the performance of school districts and the academic achievement of students. The state will also make detailed expenditure data for each school and district available to the general public, allowing for comparisons between schools."


Arguments against the measure, from the Colorado Legislative Council Ballot Information Booklet (PDF link):

"1) Amendment 66 is a $950 million tax increase that may impede economic expansion at a time when the state‚Äôs economy is still recovering. Increasing state income taxes reduces the money that households have to spend or save. As a result, consumer spending and overall economic activity may also decline, negatively impacting the competitiveness of Colorado businesses. The state currently has adequate financial resources to implement Senate Bill 13-213 for the next year without a tax increase. The legislature set aside $1.1 billion in budget year 2012-13 and an estimated $290 million in budget year 2013-14 for P-12 public education. These recent set-asides are indicative of an expanding economy that may permit adequate investment in P-12 public education without additional tax revenue. 

"2) This measure imposes an additional tax burden on state taxpayers without any guarantee of increased academic achievement. Senate Bill 13-213 makes incremental changes to the school funding allocation formula without providing significant educational reform. This approach lacks real accountability as the new funding formula does not reward schools or districts that show gains in student achievement. Amendment 66 leaves in place an outmoded system of delivering education that has not shown significant measurable improvements for students on state assessments.

"3) Under the measure, taxpayers in some school districts will pay more in new taxes than these districts will receive in new revenue. All individuals will see a state income tax increase of at least 8.0 percent to implement the new P-12 education formula, and some will see substantially higher percentage increases. At the same time, under Senate Bill 13-213, 37 of 178 school districts will see increases in funding of less than 8.0 percent. Thus, the measure maintains a funding structure that uses tax revenue from some districts in order to subsidize P-12 education in other districts."


amendment 66: financial impacts


The income tax hike would raise about $1 billion annually. A household with $50,000 in gross income would pay an addition $97 a year; with $100,000 gross income, the hike would be $243 a year; for $150,000, the hike would be $721 more a year; and for $200,000, it would mean $1,281 more a year.


Income tax rates would remain the same, as would the formula funding public school districts.


amendment 66: campaign information


Colorado Commits to Kids

Tracie Moore

2515 16th St. Suite 200

Denver, CO 80634 80211


Greeley Commits to Kids

Mark Tyler Notestine

3936 W. 19th St. Ln

Greeley, CO 80634



Coloradans Against Unions Using Kids As Pawns (aka Kids Before Unions)

Corey Wesley

1775 Sherman St. Ste 2900

Denver, CO 80203


Coloradans For Real Education Reform

Alexander Hornaday

1624 Market St. Ste 202

Denver, CO 80202




RankContributor nameTotal
4MELINDA GATES$1,000,000
5PAT STRYKER$825,000
$10.4 million raised in total


$41.0 thousand raised in total
RankContributor nameTotal

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