Just throwing money at the problem
Jan Tanner (Community Conversations) uses the term "public money," there is no public money, there is only money that comes from the 50 percent of the population that pays income tax and people and businesses that pay property taxes. Being one of these people I would like this money to go to education, not public eduction but the best education we can get for our children. And I want the parents to decide what the best education is, be it home school, private schools, religious schools or a public school system. The only way we can do this is with a vouchers system.
Every election we are asked to provide more money for the current educational system and the results stay the same, so we must surmise that just throwing money at this problem isn't the answer. We need real change. Remember, the teacher unions do not work for the good of the student, but for what's good for the teachers. The teacher unions are opposed to vouchers for fear of loosing the strangle hold they currently have over the public school system and the millions of dollars the unions make on public education.
If we want to see the United States increase the educational rating we can't continue to do the same thing and expect different results - only change can do that.
Don't let bait and switch fool you
There is an excellent CATO study on the impact - or lack thereof - for throwing more money at the broken education model, especially since the federal government became involved: "The Impact of Federal Involvement in America's Classrooms," by Andrew Coulson.
It also shows that since 1970, the cost per pupil for a K-12 education has tripled (inflation adjusted) with effectively zero impact.
But let's be honest about Amendment 66. It has nothing to do with the bait - educational expense - and everything to do with introducing progressive taxation into Colorado and to unleashing legislatures to raising taxes in the future.
Don't let the bait and switch fool you. If people wanted a better education, competition by tying money to pupils would accomplish that, and for less cost. Competitions always beat monopolies for effectiveness because there is no incentive to do more for less in a monopoly budget system.
The real goal is to unleash the progressive tax man. Vote no on Amendment 66 and don't believe that this will be the last time it is tried.
Huge cost to taxpayers
The Amendment 66 supporters and news articles obscure the fact that this income tax increase would amount to an 8 percent increase in state income tax for incomes below $75,000 and an increase of 27 percent on income earned in excess of $75,000.
These are huge increases and fail to fit in with the pro-Amendment 66 claims of "small price." This change would be very costly to the taxpayer. How much more of your money will you permit the government to take?
A completely different number
Proponents of Amendment 66 say that the average increase in household income taxes will be about $133 per year. When I do the math, I see a completely different number.
The estimated increase in revenue from Amendment 66 is $1 billion. There are roughly 5,000,000 people who live in Colorado, many of whom don't pay taxes. The number of households is reported by the U.S. Census as roughly 2,000,000. So I divide $1 billion by 2,000,000 households and conclude that the average increase in income tax will be about $500 per household. This is almost four times as large as the $133 figure that is commonly quoted by advocates of Amendment 66.
The Colorado income tax revenue in 2012 was about $5 billion. Amendment 66 proposes to raise this by $1 billion. This is a 20 percent increase.
Each way I look at it, Amendment 66 is a huge increase that is being promoted at least in part using numbers that are deceptive.
If we're going to raise income taxes by this much, it shouldn't all go to one government function. There should be money for infrastructure and for storm water mitigation as well.
I can't and won't vote for Amendment 66. It's too big, too one sided, and too poorly constrained.
Punishing charter schools
This is horrible. The more you dig into the new education bill (SB13-213) the worse it gets. My kids are now 20 and 24, but we enjoyed the freedom to choose a charter school education for them. We felt so strongly about that choice we joined several other local parents to form the committee to found The Classical Academy (TCA) charter school. The desire parents have for choice is evidenced by TCA's waiting list of nearly 6,000 students.
But under the guidelines in this new proposal, charter schools, which provide one of the most innovative and successful options for schooling in Colorado, would be damaged.
The funding formula used in SB13-213 punishes charter schools who have demonstrated outstanding student performance by robbing them of funding and sending that funding to lower-performing schools. That bad bill language found its way into Amendment 66, which is on our ballots this fall.
I'm not saying poor performing schools don't need some help, but they shouldn't get that help to the disadvantage of well-performing schools. I hope you will join me in voting no on Amendment 66.