Routt County, Colorado reject Proposition 103
November 1, 2011
Denver — Routt County voters teamed up with their peers across the state Tuesday to overwhelmingly reject the only statewide tax increase on November ballots nationwide — a proposal to raise income and sales taxes for five years to help maintain public education funding.
The measure would have sent an estimated $2.9 billion to preschools, K-12 schools and public colleges and universities, and the vote indicates Coloradans aren't willing to consider higher taxes in this down economy despite deep budget cuts to high-priority services such as schools.
With more than 60 percent of the projected vote counted, Proposition 103 was trailing 65 percent to 35 percent.
In Routt County, 60 percent of voters rejected Proposition 103.
The measure would have raised individual and corporate tax rates from 4.63 percent to 5 percent.
Colorado's sales and use tax rate would have gone from 2.9 percent to 3 percent. The rates would have been in effect from 2012 through 2016.
Earlier this year, Colorado lawmakers cut K-12 school funding by more than $200 million, to $2.8 billion. Still, most voters felt like Denver voter Mike Tiderman.
"I understand the plight of schools and everything, but personally, I don't want to pay more taxes right now," said Tiderman, a 44-year-old customer service worker.
Opponents also questioned the lack of specifics for how the tax revenues would be spent. Proposition 103 left it up to lawmakers to decide how to allocate the funds.
Because Colorado's state constitution forbids lawmakers to raise taxes, the higher tax rates were petitioned onto ballots thanks in great part to the efforts of Democratic Sen. Rollie Heath. Other Democrats, including Gov. John Hickenlooper, declined to get behind the idea.
On the final day of voting, Hickenlooper released his budget proposal for next year, which calls for $89 million in cuts for public schools. Public colleges and universities would get $60 million less.