DENVER - When Nayely Avila knocks on doors in southwest Denver, she wants to ask resident a very important question. Will you pay higher income taxes to support Colorado schools?
"I already went through what it is to not have any books, any technology," Avila said.
She is a student and member of a group called Padres y Jovenes Unidos who are going door-to-door to garner support for Amendment 66, the proposed two-tiered income tax hike aimed at pumping an estimated $990 million in added revenue into public schools.
"I'm out here canvassing and getting the word out on the November 5th election," Avila said. "I know how much it matters for students to have the resource that they need that already should have."
While Avila and the students are talking to residents, a coalition of community and business leaders calling themselves "Coloradans for Real Education Reform" are stomping at the Capitol.
"A billion dollar tax increase during a very tenuous economic recovery, I don't think is a wise decision," Bob Hagerdorn, former democratic state senator from Aurora, said.
The proposal would increase the current flat income tax rate of 4.63 percent to 5.00 percent on taxable income up to $75,000. Above $75,000, the tax rate increases to 5.90 percent. The Colorado Legislative Council put out a tax estimator to see the difference in payments if the Amendment is passed. It shows that someone with a taxable income of $50,000 would pay an additional $185 per year or an 8 percent increase in dollars. The estimator shows that someone with $100,000 of taxable income will pay $595 more or an increase of 13 percent in dollars. Still, some business leaders look it as an increase in the percentage of 27 percent for taxable income over $75,000.
"It is simply too massive of a tax increase and the wrong type of tax increase," John Brackney, President of South Metro Denver Chamber, said. "To enshrine a 27 percent tax increase into the constitution is just a really bad policy for small businesses."
Avila reached several residents who had not heard of the bill. Binyamin Cordova says he's thankful Avila came by to tell him about Amendment 66.
"Especially with two little ones being in the house," Cordova said. "It's a valuable amendment to be able to research and to vote on."
Linda Hill is a parent of five children. She says the proposal doesn't guarantee more money will equal better schools.
"I've read over the bill and there's nothing in there that says that these dollars will even help my children, at all," Hill said. "In my home, we have issues, but throwing money at it is not the way to fix it."
Avila says the tax increase is small price to pay for more resources for schools. That's why she's going from house-to-house.
"Just letting them know what they have to do, just that they have to put a little bit of their part to it, to help all these students," Avila said.
If you want to see how the Amendment 66 would impact your income taxes if it passes, click here: http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CGA-LegislativeCouncil/CLC/1251644845398
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