Capitol Update: Legislators consider critical support for kids and families as session set to end Saturday
We’re waiting to hear about the final fates of several crucial efforts to support Colorado children and families as legislators raced to wrap up work Friday afternoon. Lawmakers hope to adjourn or recess this weekend and several of our priority bills are still in motion—making us hopeful they will get across the finish line.
We have several action alerts circulating if you can take a few moments this afternoon to reach out to your legislators. Click below to access the action alerts:
Here’s the latest on measures as of Friday afternoon:
Cigarette Tobacco And Nicotine Products Tax to Support Health and Early Childhood Education Programs (Caraveo & McCluskie/Fileds & Moreno)
This bill refers a measure to voters on this year’s November ballot that would raise taxes on cigarettes, tobacco and, for the first time, apply a tax on nicotine vaping products. In the first two and a half years, the resulting revenue would provide relief to state budget cuts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including investments in rural schools and the State Education Fund. After that initial period, the revenue would be devoted to nicotine education and cessation programs and toward giving every child in Colorado access to early childhood education. From year one forward, funding would also be provided to existing recipients of Amendment 35 revenue to offset decreased revenue the results from the new tax.
Please take action to support this bill during the last days of session!
Public School Finance (Becker / Todd)
Passed as a bill each year separate from the budget, the School Finance Act (SFA) sets funding levels for Colorado’s 178 school districts for next school year. This year’s SFA is longer than usual because it incorporates several changes that were necessary because of the COVID crisis. Because of lower state revenues, schools will see about a 5 percent per pupil funding cut. To read more about this bill, click here.
Repeal Property Tax Assessment Rates (Tate & Hansen / Esgar & Soper)
This concurrent resolution submits a question to voters to repeal the Gallagher Amendment from the state Constitution, including the non-residential assessment rate of 29 percent, the calculation of the target percentage (45 percent of property tax revenue from residential property, 55 percent from non-residential property), and the requirement that the residential assessment rate be set to achieve the target percentage. Over time, the measure is expected to result in higher property tax revenue for local governments and reduce the state aid requirement for school finance. The measure will be on the 2020 ballot. To read more about this bill, click here.
Adjust Tax Expenditures for State Education Fund (Sirota & Gray/ Moreno & Hansen)
This bill would close or means test a handful of new and existing tax deductions that overwhelmingly benefit wealthy individuals and wealthy businesses, which would generate an estimated $263 million in revenue for the state. The bill would also expand the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to 20 percent of the federal credit in 2023 and make the state EITC immediately accessible to families who file tax returns using an ITIN number. To read more about this bill, click here.