BREAKING: Bright Colorado Initiative Makes It to Ballot

POLS UPDATE: Full release from the Bright Colorado campaign after the jump. Says Proposition 103 organizer Sen. Rollie Heath, “during the past few weeks, we’ve seen momentum build as our already strong, largely grassroots coalition gathers support from a growing number of organizations and individuals. We are committed to a person-to-person campaign for our kids that will continue to build toward a positive outcome in November.”


From the Colorado Center on Law and Policy:

I am emailing you so that you are the first to hear some great news. The Colorado Secretary of State’s office certified that Initiative 25 will be on the ballot this November! They just called Senator Heath to let him know that we collected more than the 86,105 signatures needed to certify Initiative 25, now known as Proposition 103. Thanks to the work by volunteers like you, Coloradans will have the chance to this November to stop the short-sighted school cuts and start reinvesting in education.

Thank you for all that you’ve done to raise awareness of the challenges facing our schools. And thank you for the sacrifices you made this summer collecting signatures so that we can reinvest in our communities.

This great news deserves celebration, but our work is not done. We now turn our attention to persuading our friends and neighbors that voting yes on Proposition 103 is a vote to support  our schools, our communities and our economy. We will need your help in this endeavor. Success on Nov. 1 will require an even larger coalition than the one we’ve built together so far.

The supporters of Proposition 103 have continued to impress with their tenacity and ability to quietly build momentum. With the support of the Colorado Education Association, the Colorado Association of School Boards and the Colorado Association of School Executives, a coalition is being built bit by bit. It took some major cojones to petition gather without the certainty of these endorsements or that petition gathering would be successful. Given that K-12 funding has been cut half a billion dollars in the last two years and Colorado is last in state support for higher education, one can only hope that their gutsy action pays off.

Coalition celebrates Prop 103 as a chance to stop short-sighted, irresponsible school cuts

“Coloradans will finally have the chance to decide whether to allow another round of devastating and short-sighted cuts to classrooms or to reinvest in our schools, our communities and our economy,” state Sen. Rollie Heath said today after learning that the measure previously known as Initiative 25 will be on the ballot November 1.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office today confirmed the broad coalition of organizations supporting the measure submitted a sufficient number of signatures for it to qualify for the ballot. The Secretary of State announced the initiative will be listed on the ballot as Proposition 103.

The decision comes after the coalition submitted 142,000 signatures collected by more than 800 people in more than 100 Colorado communities during a 10-week period this summer.

“As we collected more than 142,000 signatures, Colorado voters reinforced to me that support for our schools runs broad and deep throughout the state,” Heath said. “Throughout the summer, voters all across Colorado thanked us for taking a stand and giving them a positive choice for our schools. During the past few weeks, we’ve seen momentum build as our already strong, largely grassroots coalition gathers support from a growing number of organizations and individuals. We are committed to a person-to-person campaign for our kids that will continue to build toward a positive outcome in November.”

Proposition 103 asks voters to reinvest in public education by returning the state’s sales and income tax rates to 1999 levels for five years. The measure would increase the state sales tax rate from 2.9 percent to 3 percent, and the state income tax rate from 4.63 percent to 5 percent. This would provide nearly $550 million per year for five years for preschool, K-12 and higher education.

To get involved in the effort to reinvest in Colorado’s schools, communities and economy, visit

19 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DenLawyer says:

    Two sons in DPS, the older one off to college in two years.  Hell yes I’ll vote yes.

  2. Fidel's dirt nap says:

    and that he and Mayor Romer will do their darndest to put an end to it.

  3. BlueCat says:

    Nobody gave it a chance to get so far as this in the present economy.

    • Dan Willis says:

      This initiaitve has all of the liberal big-money bogs behind it; why wouldn’t it get this far?

      Getting all the ballot is relatively simple when you have a gazillion dollars to make it happen.

      I will be surprised, though, if it passes.

  4. Voyageur says:

    If we fight a battle royal and win what is a pretty mild tax increase, from 2.9 sales and 4.63 income to the pre-owens rates of 3.0 and 5 percent, we get this tiny little revenue bump and then have to fight the whole thing again in five years.  The left goes for the most modest incremental change.  The right goes nuclear and tries for total destruction at every opportunity. And when the right wins one of its jihads, like

    TABOR or term limits, it’s forever, not for a lousy five years.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      You’re right. But fighting for improvement is a gigantic change from just sitting around wringing our hands and saying “if only…” Once we win this, then I think we’ll see more Dems step up and propose more significant improvements.

  5. pinkermonkey says:

    When TABOR was approved, it did NOT say you can’t ask the populace whether the direction of the state and the education of its children was important…  Only meant that you had to.

    I’m proud that someone has finally stepped up to ask what kind of Colorado do you want for your future?  Is that a future where we watch our kids move away to colleges in other states?  Or a state where we have paved roads, a functioning education system, and hope for the future so that our grandchildren will live within driving distance and we can see them on a (hopefully) brisk autumn day playing soccer with their friends…

    I commend Sen. Heath, and all the volunteers who helped with petitions to get this on the ballot for finally braving the gauntlet, and actually being willing to ask me, John Q., whether I’d be willing to invest in my children’s future.

    Thank you to all!

  6. Mark G. says:

    Heath must have spent a bundle of his own money to get on the ballot. The volunteer signature gathers just didn’t get the job done therefore Heath had to pay the pros.

    • Gray in Mountains says:

      but I don’t approve of it.

      But, what inside information did you gather in your basement to reach such a conclusion?

    • MADCO says:

      Or is the beginning of MSU season?  

    • raymond1 says:

      I mean, you’re actually against democracy, so isn’t any voter initiative a bad thing?

      • Mark G. says:

        Smoke um if you got-um.

        When it arises from normal people rather than elected officials or other institutionalized methods such as direct election of State senators, it is nothing more than exercising the final portion of the First Amendment, the right to petition your government for redress of grievance.

        It is in the Colorado Constitution, use it while you still can.

        • Ralphie says:

          When you manage to write something coherent, can you send word via RSS?

        • cunninjo says:

          You have a right to petition your government meaning you can offer criticisms and suggestions to your elected representatives without fear of recourse.

          Ballot initiatives are NOT a method of petitioning government, they are a way of circumventing government. If the First Amendment protected the right to propose ballot initiatives then we would be able to run federal initiatives.

          The Colorado Constitution does grant us the right to initiate ballot proposals, but that does not fall under the right to petition.

          I also challenge you to find a single ballot initiative that arose from “normal people” without influence or financial support from powerful interest groups. It just isn’t possible to collect enough signatures in the allotted time frame without substantial resources.  

  7. cunninjo says:

    I don’t recall TABOR saying anything about temporary tax increases. So my question is, since this initiative changes state statute as opposed to the constitution would the legislature be able to extend the tax rate beyond the 5 years without going to the ballot? Technically such a move wouldn’t be a tax INCREASE. It would only be preventing a tax decrease.

    Just a thought.  

  8. ArapaGOP says:

    Do any of you feel confident enough to predict? I’ll be within 2 points of this on Election Night.

  9. ColoradoJL says:

    I would vote for a designated tax to add, repair, replace, upgrade, and modernize roads and highways throughout this state.  The surface infrastructure in Colorado is in very woeful condition, and is really obsolete in many places.  Highways and roads throughout the Front Range and mountains lack capacity for the volume of traffic traveling on them and are marked widespread safety hazards; and the situation in eastern and other rural parts of Colorado is nothing short of pathetic and shameful. Colorado is clearly at disadvantage competitively with neighboring states and rival regional metro areas when it comes to have a surface transportation system that works.  Employers and business are not going to relocate here with the current and near future surface infrastructure we possess, so why would we need to spend more on education when quality jobs in Colorado are not going to increase.

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