ALAMOSA — Alan Philp, a spokesperson for the campaign against Amendment 73, was in Alamosa this week sharing details of this initiative and why he and others are in opposition to this measure.
The opposition’s campaign is known as “Blank Check. Blatant Deception. Vote No on 73.”
One of the first arguments against Amendment 73 that Philp pointed out is that it has the potential to usher in tax hikes that would be detrimental to the Colorado job market.
Currently Colorado has a fairly competitive flat corporate tax rate of 4.63 percent. If Amendment 73 were to pass, the rate would be raised to 6 percent. This would be a 30 percent increase, making it the highest rate of all of the western states, Philp said. When it comes to state income tax, the rate would be changed from a flat rate of 4.68 percent to a progressive rate that would have a top bracket of 8.25 percent. This would mean that there would be 78 percent increase.
In addition, the residential property tax assessment rate for schools would be raised to 7 percent and would decrease the rate to 24 percent for commercial and industrial property owners.
The coalition also sees the language of the proposal as a “play on words.” This means that the language of the proposal is meant to make it appear that homeowners will see a reduction in property taxes when the reality is that they will only increase.
Another argument that Philp noted was that there is no direct relation between the inputs and outputs of the measure. This means that there is no clear description of where the funds would be put to use in the state educational system. The objectives of the measure are not made clear, he said.
Another issue that the coalition finds with Amendment 73 is that it is a “blank check.” The coalition views the proposal as being sold as a benefit for teachers and schools when the group that will actually benefit is the educational bureaucracy. The amendment does not guarantee better pay for teachers, improved student performance, or college and job readiness, according to Philp. He gave said from 1992 to 2014, overall spending on education increased by 15 percent and yet teacher pay decreased by 11 percent.
The movement against Amendment 73 has numerous endorsements including the Denver and Colorado Springs Chambers of Commerce.
Philp pointed out that many in the coalition are sympathetic to the needs of the educational system, particularly when it comes to pay for teachers, However, they do not see an increase in taxes as the answer and they encourage voters to say no to Amendment 73.