CU Study: Amendment 66 means $4 billion economic gain for Colorado
DENVER — The Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado, Boulder released two economic studies of Amendment 66, a statewide income tax hike on the ballot this November that aims to raise an annual $950 million in education funding to improve Colorado schools.
One study shows that Colorado’s economy would lose $224 million in economic activity during the first five years of the higher income tax rate.
“All scenarios in isolation, not accounting for how the additional revenue is spent, have a drag on the Colorado economy,” write Richard Wobbekind and Brian Lewandowski, the study’s authors.
But a second study by Jack Strauss, the Miller Chair of Applied Economics at the Reiman School of Finance, found that Amendment 66, if approved by voters, will yield at least $4 billion in annual economic gains to the state.
While the higher tax rate will slow economic activity in the short-term, Strauss argues the long-term benefits extend beyond the classroom: reduced crime, healthcare savings, lower unemployment and welfare costs, increased property values and increased entrepreneurship.
“Colorado gains when its children perform better in school, and investing in our schools today will improve Colorado’s future,” Strauss concludes.
Colorado Commits to Kids, the organization backing Amendment 66, urges the public to consider the two studies side by side.
“These reports reach the conclusion many Colorado voters understand intuitively – investing in our education system is good for our students and it’s good for Colorado,” said Andrew Freedman, Campaign Director for Amendment 66.
“To review the impacts of increased taxes without taking into account the benefits of an improved education system is only looking at half of the equation.”
Senate Republicans issued a press release Wednesday night focusing on the impact of the taxes.
“This study reinforces the concerns that business owners across our state have had since this measure was first introduced,” said Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley. “The idea that private sector jobs will be lost and more government jobs created is concerning and quite frankly one of the worst possible things that could happen to Colorado’s economy.”