by Pam Zubeck
A Denver-based think tank has rethought the idea of putting a measure on the November 2011 ballot that would have established a graduated income tax in Colorado. The state now uses a flat rate.
The Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute announced Monday it had withdrawn several measures. But that doesn't mean the institute doesn't believe in reforming the state's tax system. Quite the contrary.
"As much as we believe Colorado needs swift action to address its fiscal challenges and stop the cycle of damaging cuts to our public services, these measures were not able to gather the broad support needed to move to the ballot in 2011," said Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute Director Carol Hedges. "People across the state have been discussing how to preserve the things that make Colorado a great place to live. Coloradoans need to continue those discussions and more people need to be involved in finding solutions to attract the broadest possible support."
The agency had previously filed six measures with the state Title Board — one of the early steps in the process for deciding the content of election ballots. It filed multiple measures to test how creating a graduated income tax would work with state limitations on ballot measures. Election authorities set titles for all six measures. By withdrawing the measures, the Fiscal Policy Institute signals to the Title Board that it will not pursue subsequent steps for qualifying the measures for the 2011 ballot.
"Experts from across the political spectrum understand our state's fiscal mess is not temporary or just a result of an economic downturn - it's structural, and we need to make fundamental shifts in how we fund public services," Hedges said. "We will continue to work with a broad coalition to identify structural solutions that provide adequate, sustainable and equitable investments in our communities. No one should be left out of this discussion. All Coloradans must give sustained attention to solving these problems: business leaders, police officers, faith community representatives, union members, civil rights activists, parents, senior citizens, academics and more. Colorado is a great place to live, do business and raise a family, and we can keep it great by showing real commitment to our state's future. Colorado is worth it."
The Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute is a project of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and advocacy organization seeking justice and economic security for all Coloradans.