Amendment 66

Business, policy groups come together in opposition to Amendment 66

A broad coalition of business executives and regional public policy groups around Colorado have declared opposition to Amendment 66, according to statements issued in the past several weeks.

Club 20, Action 22, Progressive 15, and Colorado Concern have each weighed in separately against the proposed $1 billion, two-tiered income tax hike for educational spending, citing concerns about the nature of the progressive income tax, questions of accountability, damage to jobs and the recovering economy, and the possibility of a post-election lawsuit filed by the Colorado Education Association.

Tamra Ward, President and CEO of Colorado Concern, issued a statement last week expressing deep concerns about the conflict between the CEA’s potential lawsuit and its support of Amendment 66.

To us, asking for nearly $1 billion dollars annually on the one hand – as the CEA is doing as a proponent of Amendment 66 – when you plan to file a lawsuit over components of the very measure you are seeking to fund – felt disingenuous at best. Additionally, ensuring that the decision to litigate occurred after the election lacked the transparency we believe voters deserve,” Ward wrote.

Ward pointed to a resolution asking the CEA to refrain from filing a lawsuit from the State Board of Education for additional support, as Colorado Concern had already deemed the tiered income tax in the measure as a non-starter.

“With this as the backdrop, Colorado Concern’s Board of Directors met last week to discuss the organization’s position on Amendment 66. As you know, the organization is firmly on the record regarding our opposition to a graduated income tax, making support of the ballot measure unlikely at best. However, neutrality was under serious consideration prior to the actions by the teacher’s union related to SB-191. With that lens, and with no formal action from the CEA regarding the lawsuit, the Board’s action was to oppose Amendment 66,” Ward concluded.

Club 20, representing local officials and business leaders across twenty counties on Colorado’s Western Slope, voted in September by a sizable margin to oppose the $1 billion tax hike.

Club 20 chairman Steve Reynolds told the Vail Summit Daily Amendment 66’s tax levels would threaten small businesses and depress job creation, and throw a wrench into the state budget by enshrining the funding in the state Constitution.

Club 20 believes in a strong, well-funded education system. But we do not believe that throwing nearly one billion dollars at the education bureaucracy is going to help students perform better,” Reynolds said.

The cost of Amendment 66 “could significantly damage small businesses in Colorado,” Reynolds continued, with the higher bracket hurting the job creators by taxing income above $75,000 at 5.9 percent.

“That’s money that will go to taxes that they could instead be using to hire more people,” he told Summit Daily.

In northeast Colorado, Progressive 15 also cited “inherent flaws” as reasons the organization “was not able to support” Amendment 66 in a statement released October 20.

“The two tiered taxing system creates an uneven support system; there appears to be little accountability or flexibility in the bill; and, the bill becomes a part of the constitution superseding the TABOR Amendment protection,” the group said.

Other business and civic groups opposing Amendment 66 include the National Federation of Independent Business, the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce, and the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce.

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