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.
â€œIâ€™m disappointed,â€ said State Sen. Rollie Heath (D-Boulder), who sponsored the measure. â€œObviously the people of this state donâ€™t feel the same sense of urgency that I did.â€
Heath started working on the proposition in February after Gov. Hickenlooper announced his proposal to cut more than $300 million from Coloradoâ€™s K-12 funding.
â€œI hope this is just the beginning of our conversation to fix education funding,â€ 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 â€”especially from Save Colorado Jobs, an organization led by former Colorado representative Victor Mitchell.
â€œWeâ€™re just thrilled that the voters have spoken and said â€˜no way,â€™â€ Mitchell said. â€œWe believe it would have caused the loss of 30,000 to 119,000 private sector jobs had this tax increase passed.â€
â€œIt 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,â€ he said.
During Heathâ€™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 canâ€™t take stances on partisan issues because theyâ€™re state employees, leaving the decision to endorse legislation up to Senate.
â€œASCSU is not a partisan body. Itâ€™s tough,â€ Berlinberg said.
ASCSU Director of Governmental Affairs Chase Eckerdt said he brought the issue before Senate, which did not decide to take a stance.
â€œFrom our angle we didnâ€™t feel a lot of anger on the issue,â€ Eckerdt said. â€œIt took a while to gain momentum.â€
Although unable to take a formal stance on the issue, Eckerdt agreed with Berlinberg that Proposition 103 is a good starting point.
â€œI think at the end of the day even with it failing we might have opened up the broader discussion,â€ Eckerdt said. â€œI hope this will serve as a wake up call for students to pick up the torch and have a voice.â€
He said the killing of Proposition 103 will not change ASCSUâ€™s presence at the Capital, and the student government will continue to have a voice in budget talks.
â€œJust because a tax measure fails it doesnâ€™t mean there arenâ€™t other options for CSU,â€ Eckerdt said. â€œIt sends us a message, but itâ€™s not going to deter us from fighting for initiatives that benefit the student body.â€
News Editors Matt Miller and Erin Udell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No: 63.9 percent
Yes: 36 percent
83 percent reporting ( 8898 precincts )
h3. Voting results for Prop 103
No: 59 percent
Yes: 40.9 percent
No: 47.1 percent
Yes: 52.8 percent
No: 54.3 percent
*Yes: *45.6 percent