5:21pm

Mon May 16, 2011
Education

State Sen. Heath Proposes ‘Tourniquet’ To Help Education Funding

At the State Capitol today, State Senator Rollie Heath unveiled “Support Our Schools for a Bright Colorado,” a ballot measure campaign he hopes will bring more funding to higher education and K-12 schools.

The proposed measure would raise Colorado's income and sales tax rates between 2012 and 2017, and it could bring in as much as $3 billion dollars during that time period.

If approved by voters, that would translate into one-tenth of a percent raise for sales tax, and just over three-tenths of a percentage point increase on state income tax.

Heath says the end result would bring billions back to higher education and public schools, which have been faced with dramatic state budget cuts in recent years.

"We don't want to give the impression that this is the big fix. This is a tourniquet,” he said during a press conference on Monday. “This is a band-aid to stop the cut in education and stop the bleeding for the next five years."

But Colorado Republicans said the measure would hinder economic recovery, putting financial stress on families that were already struggling.

“You don’t raise taxes during a recessionary period,” said State Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp.

Now Heath will begin the process of gathering more than 86,000 signatures to get the measure in front of voters this Fall.