Welcome to WhoSaidYouSaid.com

WhoSaidYouSaid presents documentary video and creative content - a highlight reel of people in politics. Tune in for more every day. Comments are moderated and published at our discretion.

After registering, WhoSaidYouSaid will send you updates by e-mail, from which you can opt-out at any time. Your information will not be used for any other purpose without your express permission.

Member Login

Forgot Password !

New password will be e-mailed to you.

Using “for the kids” to sell tax increases in Colorado

Posted by Kelly Maher on October 28th, 2011
Share |

A popular way to sell tax increase proposals in Colorado is that it’s “for the children,” as is the case with Proposition 103, the proposal on the Nov. 1 ballot to raise taxes $2.9 billion over the next five years.

The South Metro Chamber of Commerce held a debate this month between Victor Mitchell - a former Colorado state representative and entrepreneur - and Prop. 103 proponent state Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder. In his opening remarks, Mitchell talked about the history of tax increases billed as “for the children” in the last 10 years:

“Well, let’s look at what’s happened over the last 10 years. In 2000, we passed Amendment 23, many of you probably know, and in case you don’t know, it was a mandatory increase in K-12 spending regardless of how much money was needed, regardless of how many kids were in the system.

“It was an increase based upon the previous year’s spending. There were no accountability measures tied to it. There were no reforms tied to it. It passed and the reason…the proponents of Amendment 23 told us that it’s all for the kids and it’s all to shore up K-12. In 2005, when I was running for the House, I debated on a regular basis then-candidate Bill Ritter and we were talking about Referendum C.

“And Referendum C, if it were to pass, which it did, it was going to shore up K-12, as a matter of fact it was going to be $3.6 billion, this is all we were going to need - it was going to shore up K-12 and we’re going to dramatically improve our public schools with this new financing.

“In 2007, when I served in the legislature, we heard almost all the same arguments with something called the mill tax levy, which increased everyone’s property taxes without a vote of the people. That passed as well. It was more than a $100 million increase all in the spirit of “for the kids” and improving our K-12 system.

“And then, finally, this last legislative session, we passed five more tax increases, everything from - they called it the Dirty Dozen - but it increased our, a variety of different sin taxes on tobacco and alcohol. It also nullified our senior tax homestead exemption for seniors, all in the name of raising more revenue for K-12. The hidden secret, and it’s somewhat counter-intuitive, is that more funding in our state has not resulted in any better performance. And in this case….this is not going to result in any better performance. This is not tied to any reforms.”

Mitchell’s point, particularly with regard to Amendment 23, is a good one: the increases in educational spending came without any accountability measures.

A recent column by Mike Rosen cites the work of Ben DeGrow at the Independence Institute’s Education Policy Center:

“Ben DeGrow at the Independence Institute reports that total annual expenditures on K-12, adjusted for inflation, from 1999 to 2010 have increased by $3.2 billion or 46 percent,” Rosen wrote. “Per pupil spending is up 24 percent. There’s little to show for it in the way of results. “

DeGrow created this spreadsheet to document increases in Colorado educational spending over the past decade.

A 2008 Heritage backgrounder, titled, “Does Spending More on Education Improve Academic Achievement?” made this observation…

“Despite the lack of consistent findings, leading researchers in the area acknowledge that any effect of per-pupil expenditures on academic outcomes depends on how the money is spent, not on how much money is spent.”

Ultimately, taxpayers must see actual outcomes in terms of student performance or we will be relegated to the trend of the last decade in Colorado: being sold increases in funding and taxes “for the kids” with no evidence that students are better educated.

VN:F [1.9.7_1111]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.7_1111]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share |
  • Post by Kelly Maher on October 28th, 2011

More in Kelly Maher, Proposition 103, Recent Videos (3 of 3 articles)