State Senator Rollie Heath says his “straw-that-broke-the-camel’s-back” moment came when Governor John Hickenlooper proposed steep cuts to education ($332 million) in order to balance Colorado’s budget (via the Denver Post). That’s why Heath is supporting a citizens’ initiative asking voters to approve a tax hike this fall. Under the plan, individual and corporate tax rates would rise from 4.63 percent to 5 percent while sales and use tax rates increase from 2.9 percent to 3 percent (Associated Press). The Boulder Democrat claims the plan would reap $1.63 billion for both K-12 and higher education funding.
Senator Greg Brophy, of Wray, is among the state Republican officials who have already dismissed the idea, noting that businesses tend to “migrate to states with low taxes” (Colorado Independent). Heath defends his plan, citing reports from the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. on the impacts of a less educated and less productive workforce on the economy (Denver Business Journal). For his part, Hickenlooper says Heath’s “heartfelt proposal deserves to be part of a larger conversation about Colorado’s future, and we welcome that conversation.”