Roger Good: Amendment 73 is a bad idea
October 25, 2018
Tax policy as a part of the constitution is bad governance.
Definition of constitution: A. the basic principles and laws of a nation, state or social group that determine the powers and duties of the government and guarantee certain rights to the people in it; B. a written instrument embodying the rules of a political or social organization.
In 2000, Coloradans passed Amendment 23, which was intended to be a permanent fix to education funding. It was permanent until the recession when the legislature introduced the "negative factor" to balance the budget. The new interpretation of Amendment 23 was the subject of a legal battle that ended in 2015 when the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the “new” interpretation of Amendment 23 was legal.
While educators and school finance advocates were awaiting the court ruling on Amendment 23, in 2013, they proposed another amendment to fix education funding. It was called Amendment 66 — a $1 billion tax increase.
Coloradans rejected Amendment 66 by nearly two to one.
Today, five years later, education funding advocates are offering another amendment to the constitution to permanently fix education funding. This time it is Amendment 73 — a $1.6 billion, 60 percent or $600 million, increase over the amount requested in 2013.
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With Amendment 23 having two possible interpretations, and Amendments 66 and 73 only being five years and $600 million different, a constitutional amendment is simply the wrong way to fund anything that has dynamic and changing needs.
Speaking of constitutional amendments, in 2016, Coloradans passed Amendment 71, which makes it harder to change our constitution, as it now requires a 55 percent majority.
Education funding amendments are as follows.
• Amendment 23 was good for nine years.
• Amendment 23 became the subject of a six-year lawsuit.
• Amendment 66 came only 13 years after Amendment 23.
• Amendment 73 came only five years after Amendment 66, and it is 60 percent larger in funding requests.
Regardless of pro or con on Amendment 73, putting it in the constitution is simply wrong. Finally, the actual text of the amendment calls for an evaluation after five years to verify effectiveness.
If it is good or bad, we should know before we spend $8 billion. If it isn't good, because it’s an amendment, it will require a higher hurdle to change.
Vote “no” on 73.