Back in February, state Senator Rollie Heath asked his fellow lawmakers to consider raising taxes to re-stock the dwindling pot of funding for public education, which is set to lose another $227.5 million (K-12) and $36 million (higher ed) in the next fiscal year. The proposal was swiftly struck down, but that hasn’t deterred the Boulder Democrat. Heath is now partnering with four advocacy groups in a campaign called Support Our Schools for a Bright Colorado, which in the next election intends to ask voters to restore some taxes to 1999 levels: The measure would boost state sales tax from 2.9 to 3 percent and the state income tax from 4.63 to 5 percent (EdNews Colorado).
Shortly after announcing the campaign yesterday, State Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp took a shot at Heath, calling him “tone deaf to the concerns of families and businesses across the state” (Denver Business Journal), while the Independence Institute’s Jon Caldara pointed to high unemployment numbers (Denver Daily News). Caldara also wonders how the campaign’s efforts will fare under new laws governing the signature-collecting process required to land measures on the statewide ballot.