Do Colorado Democrats believe that big corporations are already “paying their fair share,” but small businesses are not? That’s the logical conclusion drawn from the fact that Initiative 22 raises taxes on “individuals, estates and trusts,” but leaves the corporate income tax rate alone. Many small businesses operate as sole proprietorships, partnerships, and “S Corporations” – which all file their tax returns as individuals. These small businesses would see their taxes go up, while corporations are left unaffected.
The big argument behind these education reforms is that it is an investment in the future of the state. Supporters claim that businesses would reap the benefits in the long run because we would have a better educated and prepared workforce. If that is the case, why aren’t corporations being asked to “invest” along with Colorado families? . . . And I thought that Republicans were typically accused of being the party of big business.
Let’s be honest. The whole tax increase is a bad idea. It would harm the economy. Simply throwing money at a problem doesn’t mean it will be fixed – especially when that money is taken from Colorado families at a time when the economy is struggling (Colorado’s unemployment rate is over 7%). This tax measure just isn’t well-thought out – which might be why Governor Hickenlooper was originally reluctant to support it. Recently, though, he has become a full-fledged supporter of the tax hike. For better or worse, this will have a big impact on his reelection bid next year. After seeing the agenda that the Governor and legislature pushed through last session, we can all be glad that tax increases must go to the people for a vote.
It looks like the Democratic playbook going forward will be to bring a new billion dollar tax increase up every two years – and when it fails, blame Republicans for spreading “misinformation” and for standing in the way of improvements in education. That way, there is no real accountability for the results of the money that we are currently spending. Why else would reasonable reforms be held hostage to this tax increase? The legislature could move away from a single “count day” and it could provide greater accountability for how money is being spent on the district level without tying it to this tax increase.
When reforms like: passing a parent trigger law, scratching teacher tenure, moving towards a bottom-up approach to funding, and approving targeted tax credits for low income students are consistently shot down, it makes it clear that there is a specific agenda to all this “reform.” Going forward, there should only be one agenda – doing what is best for children.
Sensible reforms should come before any talk of additional revenue. Voters want the government to prove that it can use the current education budget effectively before asking for more money. There is no doubt that the Initiative is going to have a tough time on the November ballot– especially in districts that would end up paying more in additional taxes than they would receive in additional revenue.
Michael Fields is a 6th grade teacher at a charter school in Aurora, and a Republican candidate for Colorado House District 37