Amendment 73, an initiative that could add an additional $1.6 billion annually for Colorado schools, will officially be on the ballot this November according to the Colorado Secretary of State. Supporters turned in nearly 180,000 signatures in July and 130,000 were certified in compliance with the new Amendment 71 rules.
Previously known as Initiative 93 while supporters gathered petition signatures, Amendment 73 would raise taxes on corporations and individuals with incomes of $150,000 or more a year. According to the Great Schools, Thriving Communities campaign, most taxpayers would not see their income taxes increase.
In Jeffco, a successful Amendment 73 would result in up to an additional $135 million, or $1,600 per student, according to the district. Colorado schools currently rank 45th in the nation for per-pupil funding.
Money raised by the initiative would increase base funding for all students, provide funding for full-day kindergarten, and increase funding for early childhood education. It would also increase funding for special education, English language learners, and gifted and talented students.
Amendment 73 would also have a big impact on rural school districts. Due to funding shortages in past years, many have converted to four-day school weeks in order to save on utility and transportation costs. Approximately 95 percent of teachers in rural districts do not make a large enough salary to meet the cost of living where they teach.
In addition, Amendment 73 would benefit farmers, ranchers, and small business property owners with a “Gallagher Fix” that lowers the nonresidential tax rate. Ranchers, farmers, and commercial business owners would see taxes decrease from 29 percent to 24 percent.
If approved, it would levy a graduated income tax only on C corporations and taxpayers with an income above $150,000. The campaign estimates that the tax would affect only 8 percent of Colorado taxpayers. Colorado’s C corporations already have the third lowest corporate tax in the nation. The 1.37 percent increase from Amendment 73 would still leave Colorado’s corporate income tax among the ninth lowest.
The remaining 92 percent of Colorado taxpayers would see no change in their income taxes.
“This initiative helps every community throughout Colorado, no matter the size — no one is left behind,” said Martha Olson, a proponent of Amendment 73.
To pass, Amendment 73 will require 55 percent voter approval in November due to new requirements of Amendment 71.