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Education Tax Overcomes Legal Challenge To Stay On The Ballot

Jim Hill
The Denver City and County Building.

A ballot question to raise Colorado income taxes to help improve public schools has survived a legal challenge. A Denver District Court Judge has ruled that the proposal can go before voters.

Opponents of Amendment 66 [.pdf] argued in court that organizers failed to properly gather signatures to put the measure on the ballot. In one case they said circulators filled in voter ID information, instead of letting the notary doing it.

The court has ruled otherwise.

“There is no allegation that the information entered by circulators was inaccurate. Thus, the state’s goal was entirely achieved here,” said Denver District Judge Michael Mullins. “This was clearly a good faith attempt to comply with the statute rather than some effort to mislead voters or elections officials.”

Coloradans for Real Education Reform, which filed the lawsuit, called the ruling disappointing.

“If a vested interest can spend a million dollars to place a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot, the least that we can expect is strict compliance with the law, " said former Democratic state Sen. Bob Hagedorn, with Coloradans for Real Education Reform.

Colorado Commits to Kids, which is backing Amendment 66, called the entire lawsuit a desperate political stunt.

Now it’ll be up to voters to decide whether to raise income taxes by 8 percent for most families. The money would pay to help at risk students, reduce class sizes and pay for a new system to evaluate teachers based on student performance.

Bente Birkeland has been reporting on state legislative issues for KUNC and Rocky Mountain Community Radio since 2006. Originally, from Minnesota, Bente likes to hike and ski in her spare time. She keeps track of state politics throughout the year but is especially busy during the annual legislative session from January through early May.
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