A group of Colorado education nonprofits is asking for the legislature to refer a measure to the ballot that could increase state revenue specifically to pay for preschool, K-12 and higher education.
The measure, which could be introduced as early as tomorrow, requires a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate.
“This just gives voters the chance to restore some flexibility to the state government,” said Lisa Weill, policy director for Great Education Colorado, one of the 19 groups that make up DECIDE, the group requesting the ballot measure. “We want more options for education.”
Those options are not defined in the ballot measure.
“We don’t say to raise this tax, or that tax – or any taxes,” Weil said. “It just gives the legislature that flexibility to decide for themselves. And if voters don’t like the way they handle it, they can vote to ‘un-elect’ them. It’s the way that the 49 other states do it.”
The state is going through a tax study for the first time since 1958, examining both the tax structure and where revenue comes from. That study could help the government decide how to approach the higher education issue.
“Right now, the legislature has only one tool for balancing the budget,” said Andrew Bateman, chairman of the Associated Students of Colorado. “We’re just asking for a chance to decide if there’s a better way to balance the budget.”
Other members of the coalition include Associated Students of Colorado, Boulder Valley Gifted and Talented, Colorado Association for Gifted and Talented, Colorado Council of Churches, Colorado School Foundations Association, Colorado PTA, Colorado Rural Schools Caucus, Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition, Every Child Matters, Great Education Colorado, Impact on Education, Justice and Peace Ministry Team, Kriffin Elementary PTA, Padres Unidos, Partnership for Families and Children, Wickerdale Walkers and Women Informed Network.