Wide Gap in Spending on Education Measure

Written by Common Cause Interns on November 1, 0013


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Colorado issue committees have already raised over ten million dollars to support Amendment 66, a ballot initiative targeted for November that would approve a tax increase to raise $950 million for public education. Supporting groups have vastly outspent opposition committees. If approved, the income tax rate in Colorado for all income under $75,000 a year would rise from 4.63 percent to 5 percent. All income above $75,000 a year would be taxed at a rate of 5.9 percent.

The issue committee making the most noise thus far is Colorado Commits to Kids, which has received $10,290,138 in contributions to support the initiative as of the most recent filing deadline. The committee has made over nine million dollars in expenditures, ranging from million-dollar expenses for advertising agencies to food and hotel costs for committee employees. The largest donors to the committee thus far are the Colorado Education Association and National Education Association, which have contributed an aggregate amount of just over $4 million combined as of October 23, 2013. Recently, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Melinda Gates contributed $1.05 million and $1 million, respectively, to support Amendment 66.

Other major donors include Pat Stryker ($825,000), Denver-based Gary Investment Company ($700,000), education non-profit Education Reform Now ($500,000), architect and philanthropist Ben Walton ($500,000), David Merage of The Merage Foundation ($254,313.89), investment and leadership organization Rose Community Foundation ($200,000), Reuben Munger of investment company Vision Ridge Partners, LLC ($200,000), Paul Tudor Jones of Tudor Investment Corporation ($125,000), kidney dialysis company Davita ($100,000), The Colorado Health Foundation ($100,000), Stand for Children ($100,000), and telecommunications company Liberty Global ($100,000).

Another issue committee in favor of the measure, Greeley Commits to Kids, had received $33,841 of contributions, more than half of it from Hensel Phelps Construction, Co. ($20,000) and had spent just over $17,000. In addition, Great Education Colorado Action, had raised $35,000 and expended over $24,000 on advertising, postage, and employee upkeep.

Opposing the tax increase, the issue committee Kids Before Unions has raised $11,642.96 as of October 23rd and had spent only $8,907. Another opposition group"�Coloradans for Real Education Reform"�has raised $10,700 and spent $6,853.45, making the campaign finance balance on the issue immense.

For more information or see the campaign finance disclosures for yourself, visit the Secretary's website: http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/CampaignFinance/home.html

Office: Colorado Common Cause

Issues: Ethics, Ethics

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