Support Jeffco Kids Endorses Fair Tax Colorado (Initiative #271)

Support Jeffco Kids Endorses Fair Tax Colorado (Initiative #271)

These are unprecedented times, and few of us, if any, are able to say we ever expected to experience something like the current COVID19 environment:  the health issues, the lifestyle changes, and the economic impact from physical distancing.

It is especially important at a time when many community members will be facing economic insecurity; when our Jeffco community will look to Jeffco Public Schools to continue to serve multiple roles: Jefferson County’s largest employer with 14,000+/- employees, key distribution of meals for FRL and SNAP families and students, continuing the learning process for 86,000 students, in addition to providing space for community events, first responder incidents, and so much more.

For all these reasons, Support Jeffco Kids is endorsing Initiative #271, Fair Tax Colorado.

This measure would provide a combination of a much needed tax cut for those Coloradans who make less than $250,000 (dropping the current 4.63% to 4.58%) 96% of state taxpayers; as well as provide a tax cut to the first $250,000 income for those who make over $250,000.

Yes, there is a graduated tax increase, which would impact 4% of Colorado’s taxpayers.

Fair Tax Colorado (Initiative #271)  https://fairtaxcolorado.org/about/

Initiative #271 will:

  • Repeal the constitutional requirement that all taxable net income be taxed at one rate.
  • Create a tiered tax structure where:
    • All Coloradans receive a tax cut on the first $250,000 in taxable income as it lowers the current 4.63 percent tax to 4.58 percent.
    • Help equalize across all taxpayers the portion of their income they pay in state and local taxes.
  • Establish a 25-member Fair Tax Commission to include representatives of state government, local government, tax practitioners, business owners, and the public. The commission is required to report on the effects of the state income tax rate structure on revenue, the income distribution, and the state business climate, and to recommend modifications to the structure.

Here’s a link to the Colorado Fair Tax Calculator:  https://fairtaxcolorado.org/taxcalculator/

We are thankful for the leadership from Governor Polis, and for the many sacrifices made by our first responders and healthcare workers. We are also grateful for the leadership from our own Jeffco Public Schools district, Superintendent Dr. Jason Glass, in particular, and the dedication by our Jeffco Schools staff and teachers. We applaud parents and students who have graciously accepted the challenge of remote learning for their students at home.  No doubt, this has all brought about an unimaginable change to their homelife.  We know there will be some successes and some issues, as we all learn to cope.

Taking a big hit from all of this will be the state’s budget.  Even with help from the federal level, our state’s budget and our citizens will struggle.  Just like every other state, Colorado is incurring huge new costs as we seek to contain and treat the COVID19, and respond to virus-induced joblessness and related human needs. At the same time, projecting sharper lower tax revenues due to the widespread collapse brought on about all of these things we just mentioned.  Colorado’s Economic and Fiscal Outlook from March 16, 2020 provided by the Office of Planning and Budget Forcast provides a worse case scenario (see pg 20) (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ifieyGarjXV3OTMHUXgUvNj9Hr-tMOpH/view

Here in Jeffco, we know the demands on district resources have been immense.  Even though students are not in school buildings, the district makes several buildings available as distribution centers for meals to accommodate those students and families who would normally be served through the SNAP program and as Free Lunch recipients. In order to provide and deliver remote online, the district has had additional expenses in technology.  It’s a long list of additional resources the district has provided, some of these additional and unexpected expenditures the CARES Act will cover, some it will not, and it is all one time money .

Please note these comments from Jeffco’s superintendent, Dr. Jason Glass at the April 2nd School Board meeting (to hear Dr. Glass’ full statement: https://advancejeffco.blog/2020/04/02/statement-to-the-board-of-education-on-the-covid-19-response/?fbclid=IwAR259PFAJLKYK7yQd_hjtUwRuTV6nwUcZ6yRw12WW4DviJUrZzelHl0kfIM)

“The calm, methodical, and professional response of the staff has been nothing short of remarkable and I want to publically commend the employees of Jeffco Public Schools for the way you have prepared and the work you are doing.

“Also, as Jeffco’s largest employer, we have taken steps to keep our employees paid and provide them and our community some degree of economic stability in this difficult time.

“We continue to adapt to the challenges of the Pandemic with our community, increasing and shifting our food services, keeping our buildings open and safe spaces for staff.

“We don’t yet know how long this Pandemic will last and the restrictions impacting our movement and connections will go on.  We also do not yet know the long-term economic impact that this event may bring.  We must take prudent steps to prepare Jeffco Public Schools to weather what will be a coming financial storm.”

As our School Board and district leadership work to adopt a budget by the June 30th deadline, based on the most recent state forecast information, they are preparing for the stark realization there may be recissions to school funding.

District staff recommends working from the most conservative scenario:

  • No new funding from state
  • No buy down of budget stabilization factor
  • Reduction of Specific Ownership Tax (such as taxes from new car purchases)
  • Loss of interest
  • Possible recissions to school funding

We invite you to check out the links we’ve provided above to learn more about Fair Tax Colorado and Initiative #271.  But we also want to make sure all of our supporters understand our first priority – everyone’s first priority – is to make sure we are doing what we need to do now to be safe, abide by the social distancing orders, and look out for our families and loved ones.

We have petitions for you, but will not be working on this until it is safe to do so.