Amendment 66: Unfair and Overpriced

IB-2013-E (August 2013)
Author: Ben DeGrow

PDF of full Issue Backgrounder
Scribd version of full Issue Backgrounder

Update, 9/6: Two small changes were made. 1) Labeling on the first graphic was corrected for clarity. 2) Due to an adjustment in Legislative Council calculations, the number of rural districts losing dollars on a per-pupil basis was changed from 13 to 20.

Amendment 66 on the November 2013 Colorado ballot proposes a nearly $1 billion statewide income tax increase to pay for a new school finance formula and other education funding priorities. A majority vote at the polls would activate the policy changes in Senate Bill 213, approved by the legislature’s Democratic majority and Gov. John Hickenlooper. The policy package tied to approval of the tax increase proposal raises four primary concerns:

  • A redistribution scheme that unfairly burdens taxpayers in certain communities
  • A constitutional mandate that restricts the legislature’s ability to allocate resources
  • A funding formula that creates inequities based on where a student is enrolled
  • Inadequate policy changes that offer no real hope of better student outcomes

Posted by on Aug 28th, 2013 and filed under Issue Backgrounders, K-12 Funding. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

21 Responses for “Amendment 66: Unfair and Overpriced”

  1. [...] Ben DeGrow provides some solid proof in this Independence Institute Issue Backgrounder – Amendment 66: Unfair and Overpriced. Here’s a little something to whet your appetite, Amendment 66 promises to redistribute wealth [...]

  2. Ben,

    Ref: Amendment 66.
    Please don’t forget to mention.
    Per the Colorado SOS office/web site….Amendment 66 Voters are also at the same time being asked for forfeit THEIR TABOR RIGHTS for all future proposed Income Tax increases. Ballot language below.

    Here is the Article:

  3. ben says:

    The erosion of constitutional taxpayer rights is definitely a concern. But it should be noted from the Initiative language ( that it only does so by directly depriving the right to vote on tax/revenue increases for the proposed State Educational Achievement Fund.

  4. I Read Graphs says:

    The obvious skew on that figure seriously calls into question the validity of your arguments. Did you really think no one would notice that 7.5 was somehow a smaller bracket than 5.4 and 4.8?

  5. ben says:

    So let me see if I have this correct: Because the 7.5 looks smaller than the 5.4 and the 4.8 in the picture, that calls the validity not only of the numbers, but also the entire argument, into question? Here’s a restated explanation without pictures: For every new tax dollar Boulder County pays, their schools get a 59-cent return. For every new tax dollar Jefferson County pays, their schools get a 56-cent return. For every new tax dollar Douglas County pays, their schools get a 50-cent return.

  6. ben says:

    The mistake in the graphic labeling has been corrected, as noted along with one other small change in the text.

  7. [...] Independence Institute, a Denver-based free market think tank, and author of the recent issue brief “Amendment 66: Unfair and Overpriced.” This article originally appeared in the Greeley Tribune on September 8, 2013 (subscription required [...]

  8. [...] companion piece to Senior Education Policy Analyst Ben DeGrow’s Issue Background titled, Amendment 66: Unfair and Overpriced. Linda’s will give you the low down on the enormous financial burden a billion dollar tax hike [...]

  9. [...] a look under the hood tells a different tale. Start with the fact “the measure allocates no dollars to reward success.” None! Amendment 66 is an overpriced proposition with so little real reform that some are [...]

  10. [...] Institute papers on A66 here and here [...]

  11. [...] in Grand Junction, a story featured research from the Independence Institute issue backgrounder “Amendment 66: Unfair and Overpriced” and comments from senior policy analyst Ben DeGrow to highlight the impact the billion-dollar [...]

  12. Chemiker says:

    The information provided by both Ben and Linda is excellent. However, the TV advertising against 66 is very poor. The ads do not get out the facts. They are so mushy that they could be taken to support 66.

  13. [...] Ben DeGrow’s Issue Paper: Amendment 66: Unfair and Overpriced [...]

  14. Shari says:

    I don’t understand where the data that Colorado was 26th nationally came from? I read the NEA report which showed Colorado was ranked 37th in that year. And one of the best in the region? We were more like right in the middle. Better than Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Nebraska, but less than Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Mexico and Kansas.
    But hey, why fact check when you can just rattle off some numbers buried in rhetoric.

  15. ben says:

    Shari writes: “But hey, why fact check when you can just rattle off some numbers buried in rhetoric.”

    A good reminder for all to please read carefully. As the Note in the article states, the source is – pg 55, Table H-11, “CURRENT EXPENDITURES FOR PUBLIC K–12 SCHOOLS PER STUDENT IN FALL ENROLLMENT, 2011–12 ($).” The chart is re-posted below:
    1. NEW YORK 18,616
    2. VERMONT 18,571
    3. NEW JERSEY 18,485
    4. ALASKA 17,032
    5. RHODE ISLAND 16,683
    6. WYOMING 16,666
    7. CONNECTICUT 15,790
    8. MASSACHUSETTS 14,938
    9. MARYLAND 14,616
    10. NEW HAMPSHIRE 14,587
    11. DELAWARE 14,396
    13. PENNSYLVANIA 13,904
    14. MICHIGAN 13,313
    15. ILLINOIS 12,455
    16. WISCONSIN 12,172
    17. HAWAII 11,906
    18. WEST VIRGINIA 11,777
    19. MINNESOTA 11,398
    20. VIRGINIA 11,192
    21. OREGON 10,897
    UNITED STATES 10,834
    22. INDIANA 10,820
    23. MAINE 10,396
    24. MONTANA 10,309
    25. NEW MEXICO 10,203
    26. COLORADO 10,001
    27. WASHINGTON 10,000
    28. LOUISIANA 9,998
    29. KENTUCKY 9,847
    30. OHIO 9,842
    31. MISSOURI 9,760
    32. GEORGIA 9,586
    33. KANSAS 9,518
    34. ARKANSAS 9,440
    35. IOWA 9,435
    36. NEBRASKA 9,402
    37. SOUTH DAKOTA 9,218
    38. MISSISSIPPI 9,060
    39. CALIFORNIA 9,053
    40. SOUTH CAROLINA 8,776
    41. NORTH DAKOTA 8,757
    42. ALABAMA 8,597
    43. TENNESSEE 8,577
    44. TEXAS 8,498
    45. NORTH CAROLINA 8,492
    46. FLORIDA 8,436
    47. IDAHO 8,323
    48. OKLAHOMA 8,285
    49. NEVADA 8,247
    50. UTAH 6,849
    51. ARIZONA 6,683

  16. [...] of the tax hike initiative, it should give enough pause to re-examine the painful price tag and unfair redistribution at the proposal’s [...]

  17. [...] taking a responsible, rational approach to school safety; another district standing up against an unfair and overpriced tax hike “for the kids”; and a third refusing to serve as middleman for a private [...]

  18. [...] drooling over our money spent $10 million marketing Amendment 66. Opponents, led primarily by the Independence Institute, probably spent somewhere in the area of $200,000, according to a local TV news report on election [...]

  19. mathsafe says:

    Hmm it appears like your website ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and
    say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing.
    Do you have any helpful hints for novice blog writers?
    I’d definitely appreciate it.

Leave a Reply