Colorado has received more than $1.1 billion in COVID-19 relief money for the safe return to in-person learning. (File photo by Jon Cherry/Getty Images)
Two tax measures are headed to Colorado’s 2021 statewide ballot after supporters submitted the required number of voter signatures, Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s office announced this week.
The measures, Initiatives 25 and 27, are the first to qualify for the 2021 ballot. Supporters submitted more than the 124,632 valid signatures — 5% of the total votes cast for secretary of state in the previous general election — as required by the Colorado Constitution, Griswold’s office said.
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Initiative 25, the “Learning Enrichment and Academic Progress Program,” would fund a $150 million statewide effort to provide tutoring aid to Colorado students by raising the sales tax rate on recreational marijuana from 15% to 20%. The measure is backed by a bipartisan coalition that includes many education reform groups.
“Educators, employers, families, and Colorado voters understand — we have an opportunity to support the students who need this help the most with Initiative 25,” Tony Lewis, a supporter of the initiative and the executive director of the Donnell-Kay Foundation, said in a statement. “The educational future of our children has been upended by the pandemic and while the most marginalized children will likely have the most learning loss, this has impacted students in nearly every political, geographic, economic, and racial group in our state.”
Meanwhile, Initiative 27, filed by conservative dark-money group Colorado Rising State Action, would slash Colorado property taxes, reducing the residential assessment rate from 7.15% to 6.5%, and the non-residential rate from 29% to 26.4%.
Earlier this year, a fiscal analysis by nonpartisan state staff estimated that the cuts would drain more than $1 billion from city, county and school district budgets across Colorado — though that impact could be partially offset by changes to property tax classifications approved by state lawmakers in the final days of the 2021 legislative session.
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