Denver Post Editorial Board
Colorado voters are presented this year with a straightforward proposal to modestly raise taxes and, in-one-fell-swoop, fund transportation needs for the next 20 years. Now is the time to make that investment.
Colorado voters face a difficult question on the ballot this November — does the state need more money to “fix our damn roads” or simply the directive to do so with existing resources?
We dug into the numbers, and are convinced the state does indeed need additional revenue.
We urge voters to approve the sales tax increase in Proposition 110 to fund $6 billion in road projects, at both the local and state level, for the next 20 years.
It’s not an easy ask given that state revenue is growing at such a tremendous pace.
Compared to fiscal year 2017-18, the general fund revenue is expected to increase by $537 million (after $113 million is given back to taxpayers) next year, by $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2019-20 and $1.7 billion in 2020-21. Certainly there’s room in that growth to make additional investments in our transportation needs.
But we think this state deserves safe efficient transportation and adequately funded K-12 schools, higher education institutions, child welfare advocacy agencies, health insurance for low-income families, and state patrol and other public safety programs.
Our state, especially in areas away from the Front Range, needs to invest more money in education. Rural and Western Slope schools are struggling. Some have switched to four-day school weeks. Our state invests less public dollars in higher education than almost every other state, and complicated measures controlling taxes and spending, including the Gallagher Amendment, will leave the state back-filling schools and local districts hundreds of millions of dollars for reductions in property taxes in coming years.