Nov 012011
Authors: Matt Miller and Erin Udell

Proposition 103, which would have raised taxes and provided $3 billion to fill the state education funding gap, was defeated Tuesday night by Colorado voters.

With 83 percent of precincts reporting, 63.9 percent of voters cast ballots against the measure as of 11 p.m. In Larimer County 59 percent also cast a no vote, according to the Denver Post.

“I’m disappointed,” said State Sen. Rollie Heath (D-Boulder), who sponsored the measure. “Obviously the people of this state don’t feel the same sense of urgency that I did.”

Heath started working on the proposition in February after Gov. Hickenlooper announced his proposal to cut more than $300 million from Colorado’s K-12 funding.

“I hope this is just the beginning of our conversation to fix education funding,” he added.

Shortly after announcing the proposition, which would have raised sales taxes to 3 percent and income taxes to 5 percent, Heath saw a considerable amount of opposition —especially from Save Colorado Jobs, an organization led by former Colorado representative Victor Mitchell.

“We’re just thrilled that the voters have spoken and said ‘no way,’” Mitchell said. “We believe it would have caused the loss of 30,000 to 119,000 private sector jobs had this tax increase passed.”

“It would have been devastating to our local and statewide economy and would have also given the teachers union more power and more control over our public schools without any reforms tied to how the money would be allocated,” he said.

During Heath’s statewide campaign, the senator traveled to different Colorado universities and spoke to several student governments in an attempt to garner support for the tax increase.

Noticeably absent from this, however, was the Associated Students of CSU, who did not take a stance for or against the issue.

According to ASCSU President Eric Berlinberg, student government executives can’t take stances on partisan issues because they’re state employees, leaving the decision to endorse legislation up to Senate.

“ASCSU is not a partisan body. It’s tough,” Berlinberg said.

ASCSU Director of Governmental Affairs Chase Eckerdt said he brought the issue before Senate, which did not decide to take a stance.

“From our angle we didn’t feel a lot of anger on the issue,” Eckerdt said. “It took a while to gain momentum.”

Although unable to take a formal stance on the issue, Eckerdt agreed with Berlinberg that Proposition 103 is a good starting point.

“I think at the end of the day even with it failing we might have opened up the broader discussion,” Eckerdt said. “I hope this will serve as a wake up call for students to pick up the torch and have a voice.”

He said the killing of Proposition 103 will not change ASCSU’s presence at the Capital, and the student government will continue to have a voice in budget talks.

“Just because a tax measure fails it doesn’t mean there aren’t other options for CSU,” Eckerdt said. “It sends us a message, but it’s not going to deter us from fighting for initiatives that benefit the student body.”

News Editors Matt Miller and Erin Udell can be reached at

No: 63.9 percent
Yes: 36 percent
83 percent reporting ( 8898 precincts )
h3. Voting results for Prop 103

Larimer County:

No: 59 percent
Yes: 40.9 percent

Boulder County:

No: 47.1 percent
Yes: 52.8 percent

Denver County:

No: 54.3 percent
*Yes: *45.6 percent

 Posted by at 3:57 pm

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