59: Increase funding for K-12 schools
This is a very complex bill, for two reasons. First the restrictions of TABOR require significant complexity in addressing it's ratchet-down effect. Second, it focuses this funding on core educational expenses so that the money is effectively spent.
Without this bill, in a couple of years when Referendum C ends, we will again be back in a system where state revenue, adjusted for inflation, will drop over time. Reduced income means reduced state spending. And when that last happened it had a catastrophic impact on the state. We cannot lead in the 21st Century when we are spending at 19th Century levels.
In short, this is not just about education, it is about providing adequate funding for the state. If you want to invest in our state's future, this is the single most important vote on the ballot.
Amendment 59 - creates a savings account for public education. SAFE dedicates a permanent source of funding to public education, preserves the right of citizens to vote on taxes, and untangles the fiscal knot in Colorado's constitution.
It will dedicate a permanent source of funding to preschool-12th grade education and enables the state to protect public schools from cuts during economic downturns. The State Education Fund can be used only for public education, from preschool through the 12th grade.
Amendment 59 places future funding for education at the discretion of the state legislature. Without fixed increases, legislators could provide less than inflationary increases for K-12 education in some years.
Without a limit on spending, government is more likely to increase fees. TABOR requires that money collected above the spending limit be returned to taxpayers. When the state is providing rebates, government has little incentive to raise fees because the additional money is rebated to taxpayers. Amendment 59 weakens this disincentive and thus is likely to result in an increase in the amount of fees charged to people.
Come join the discussion on this initiative at any of the following blogs:
House Speaker Andrew Romanoff
State Sen. Ken Gordon
Republican state Attorney General John Suthers
The Colorado Children's Campaign
AARP in Colorado
The Colorado Association of School Boards
The Trustees of Metropolitan State College of Denver
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