Do voters understand what Amendment 66 is about and how it is tied to SB 213? Short answer: Senate Bill 213 is about the changes coming to public schools should Amendment 66 pass in November.
But Amendment 66 does more than kick start SB 213. Amendment 66 will change Colorado's income tax structure. Colorado is one of few states with a flat income tax rate; currently it is 4.63% of the federal income tax that is paid. Should Amendment 66 pass, our flat rate disappears and a two-step progressive tax will be instituted. We know from experience what happens with progressive taxes — those who make more, pay more. (Reminder: progressive taxes are listed in the Communist Manifesto. It boils down to government theft of private property. After all, equity is the goal. But I digress.) This alone should be reason enough to vote NO on Amendment 66. But there's more. If this amendment passes, citizens will have voted away their TABOR rights tied to this measure, because it is written: "...allowing all tax revenues attributable to this measure to be collected and spent without future voter approval...." Yes, that's right. Tax revenues attributable to this measure to be collected and spent without future voter approval. Stop and think about that. Is that representative government? Still need convincing to vote NO on Amendment 66? A cursory reading of the 141 pages of SB 213 should raise concerns. Because of "equity considerations" we are told there is a need for "systemic change," which really means creating added layers of bureaucracy at the county and state levels in order to address achievement gaps on student assessments. As if simply raising taxes and creating new programs closes those gaps. As if achievement tests should be the main focus of our schools. But again, I digress. Included in SB 213 are newly created funds, a grant program, a 15-member board whose positions will be filled with the governor's appointees, and pages upon pages of funding formulas. Read it for yourself; it's readily available online. All of this complies with the report put out by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's Equity and Excellence Commission, which calls for transformational changes in how public schools are funded. In short, redistribution of resources. (After all, we have equity considerations and before they can be addressed on a national level, they must first be addressed at a local level.) But simply spending more money on new programs is no guarantee that student achievement gaps will shrink. We are running out of time for people to learn about the Colorado Commits to Kids Initiative and Amendment 66. Amendment 66 fundamentally changes our state income tax structure and SB 213 creates more government that must be funded. There is no guarantee that Colorado's public school children will benefit from either.