State Leader Launches New Effort to Fund Education, Asking Voters for Support

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The backers of a statewide initiative to increase education funding are spending time on the Western Slope, urging voters to get on board with their cause.

If passed, Initiative 25 would increase the state sales tax rate from 2.9 percent to 3 percent and increase the state income tax rate from 4.63 percent to 5 percent for the next five years.

The revenue generated by the measure -- an estimated $536 million per year -- would be dedicated to public education funding in Colorado, P-12 and higher ed.

State Senator Rollie Heath, a Democrat from Boulder, is spearheading the effort. This week, he's on a tour of the Western Slope encouraging voters to support the measure.

He says over the past two years, the state has cut more than $500 million in funding to public education, putting Colorado near the bottom of the list in state funding for education.

According to data collected by publication "Education Week", Colorado ranks 40th in the country for K-12 per pupil spending and 48th in the country in state and local funding for higher education.

"Frankly, I think we're at desperate stage right now in what we're spending for education," said Heath. "So I hope people will understand that and vote yes on November 1."

He acknowledged that many won't like the idea of increasing taxes during a recession, but says jobs and economic development are dependent on a strong education system.

"Let's put it in perspective," said Heath. "Together they equal about 160 dollars a year. I don't minimize that. But when you figure what the average family with school kids is now paying in all these additional [athletic, transportation, and activity] fees, that's way more than 160 bucks. I think it's reasonable, I think it's responsive and it will put almost three billion dollars into education over the next five years."

To get Initiative 25 on the ballot, supporters must turn in 86,125 valid signatures by August 1. Heath says the group currently has about 75,000.

To learn more about Initiative 25, click on the link below listed under "Related Links."

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  • by Oncart on Jul 13, 2011 at 07:25 AM
    Another idiot from Boulder asking for more taxes instead of cutting bloated out of control spending! See the District budget breakdown here! Accountability report here!
  • by szabla on Jul 13, 2011 at 06:55 AM
    Why in Gods name do we give anyone from Boulder and semblance of credence in this state? They are the black eye of Colorado. No wonder he is trying to screw us out of more money, just your typical mindless TAX and Spend Liberal Progressive, ah hell You now his label. What a joke he is.
    • reply
      by Disgusted on Jul 13, 2011 at 12:08 PM in reply to szabla
      Black eye? Hee Hee, I think there was another term you wanted to use, but kept it classy. ;>)
  • by John on Jul 13, 2011 at 06:54 AM
    I have seen the money they waist. Why don't they use the money that they have better before asking for more. Let me make a suggestion stop feeding kids for free and being their parents. Also if money is that short stop a lot of the other programs like athletics and focus on education.
  • by JJ Location: GJ on Jul 13, 2011 at 06:40 AM
    It's only $160 a year. Then the next one is only $160 a year and so on. The American people are being taxed to death asked to tighten their belt and people like this say give me give me give me. What ever happened to those people tightening their belt?
  • by Anchorman Location: Grand Junction on Jul 13, 2011 at 05:08 AM
    Agree. Union-Democraps have ruined our public education with their Socialist agenda. When teachers became unionized, we lost educators. The dumbing of America is evident in our public schools.
  • by Disgusted Location: Ritterville on Jul 13, 2011 at 04:38 AM
    I propose a new headline. Socialist hack wants to scam more money from honest hard working Americans to pay for leviathan government.
  • by Enough on Jul 13, 2011 at 02:12 AM
    "Let's put it in perspective"? let's do. I read this to mean 38 other states are overpaying for k-12 and 10 are more effecient. Just because people choose not to throw money at union education doesn't mean they do not support funding education.
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