Editor’s note: It was incorrectly reported that increases to sales and income taxes, as proposed by Senate Bill 11-052, would generate $163 billion, not $1.63 billion.
While the sky may be falling, Sen. Rollie Heath is no Chicken Little.
When most Colorado politicians were singing REMâ€™s â€œItâ€™s The End of the World as We Know Itâ€ while talking higher education funding, Heath was instead brainstorming creative solutions to preserve our livelihood.
On March 4, Heath presented to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education a revised version of Senate Bill 11-052 that would pay colleges and universities only when they have met certain expectations and asks voters to pay slightly more in sales and income taxes.
One task includes delivering 30 percent more diplomas into studentsâ€™ hands â€“â€“Â 12,900 to be exact â€“â€“Â in the next decade. As a state with one of the largest brain trusts in the nation, it’s imperative higher education fulfills its mission, unrestricted by lack of support, in order to attract talented workers and thus, grow the economy.
The initiative also puts on the November ballot a request of voters to approve a three-year $163 billion tax increase. While this seems like a lot of money, and it is, it comes from each Colorado citizen paying 0.1 percent more in state sales tax â€“â€“Â an increase from 2.9 to 3 percent â€“â€“Â and 0.37 percent more in income taxes â€“â€“Â an increase from 4.63 to 5 percent.
Think about it. That means for a $2.31 Venti drip coffee at Starbucks (thatâ€™s what it is in Fort Collins), youâ€™ll pay less than a penny more in taxes and get a fuzzy feeling knowing youâ€™ve helped to save a necessary arm of education.
If Gov. John Hickenlooperâ€™s possible cut of $36 million from higher ed goes through with approval of the 2011-2012 budget and with tuition having doubled over the past 10 years, we all need to come up with solutions.
And while the effects of this bill on CSU and other institutions are unforeseen, itâ€™s better to pass the bill now rather than look back and say â€˜What if â€¦â€