Income tax

Measure to Cut Colorado Income Tax Rate Rises Least But Faces No Formal Opposition | Election 2022

With just two months to go until the November election, the race to raise campaign money is heating up, but a ballot measure to cut the state income tax rate appears to have cooled.

Colorado Character, the countryside behind Move 31 asking voters to cut the state income tax rate from 4.55% to 4.40% has raised $546,500 so far, according to the latest filings from the secretary’s office of state. The campaign’s last reported contribution was in February, and it hasn’t filed new financial reports since July.

This is the lowest fundraising total of any of the eight initiatives in Colorado’s November ballot.

The last time voters were asked to cut state income taxes, there was little spending on either side of the ballot issue, which Coloradans approved of by a wide margin.

Joint initiatives committee 121 and 122 raised more than $11.4 million to enable grocery stores to sell wine and third-party delivery companies to deliver liquor. initiatives 108, 58 and 96 each raised between $2.6 and $3.6 million. The measures seek to invest state income tax revenues in affordable housing, allow licensed providers to administer magic mushrooms, and remove the limit on single-operated liquor stores, respectively. entity.

The only voting metrics close to Initiative 31’s low fundraising totals are House Bill 1414 and Senate Bill 222, which were referred to the ballot by the General Assembly, rather than proceeding to the ballot by petition. However, supporters of these issues still raised more money: the campaign behind Bill 1414 raised over $800,000 and Senate Bill 222 over $700,000. The former aims to provide free meals to public school students, while the requires telling voters how particular ballot measures would affect personal income tax rates.

Generally, fundraising totals indicate how active a campaign can be – the more money it has, the more money it can deploy to buy digital and traditional ads or send direct mail to voters. However, Initiative 31 faces no overt opposition, hampering opponents’ ability to defeat the measure at the polls.

Initiative 31’s $546,500 came from just four donors, all of them conservative political organizations. Colorado Rising Action and Defend Colorado each contributed $250,000, and Coloradans for Civil Liberties and the Independence Institute donated $45,000 and $1,500, respectively.

Three of the donations, totaling $545,000, were made in 2021. The smallest and most recent donation was in February, with no reported fundraisers since.

Initiative 31’s campaign spending also slowed significantly in 2022, spending more than $543,800 mostly on canvassing during the petition period from August 2021 to November 2021, but only $1,335 since then, according to documents filed by the Office of the Secretary of State. That left the campaign with just over $1,300 remaining for the final two months before the election.

Initiative 31 is backed by Jon Caldara, the longtime president of the Colorado-based, free market-focused Independence Institute, and Republican Senator Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling. Caldara is also an opinion columnist for Colorado Politics.

The Independence Institute said the measure of the vote is that Coloradans are taking “the fight against rising costs into their own hands”, describing cutting state income taxes as a key measure to fight inflation and provide a “immediate relief” to Coloradans by saving the average taxpayer about $120 in the first year.

Although no formal committee has been formed to oppose Initiative 31, some organizations have spoken out against the measure. The Denver-based nonprofit Bell Policy Center posted several statements on social media opposing the ballot measure.

“(Initiative 31) would effectively undo the small step Colorado has taken toward a fairer tax structure,” the Bell Policy Center said, saying the measure would “benefit wealthier Colorados” by reducing state revenue. State by $400 million, which could reduce state spending. on social services.

In a month of August representingWhere, the nonpartisan and conservative Common Sense Institute said future Taxpayer Bill of Rights refunds would offset the initial drop in state revenue due to the ballot measure, allowing the state government to not reduce expenses for the first two years. The Institute also claimed the measure would save taxpayers $767 million in 2023.

Initiative 31 was the first initiative to qualify for the 2022 ballot, receiving endorsement from the Secretary of State’s office in November 2021 – a full eight months before the next initiative would officially qualify.

The initiative garnered 148,189 valid signatures, needing only 124,632 to qualify for the ballot.

Those behind Initiative 31 also pushed the successful 2020 Proposition 116, which reduced state income tax from 4.63% to 4.55%. Voters approved the measure by a 15-point margin, even though there was little spending on either side. The Legislative Council’s budget impact statement for the measure estimated that state revenue would drop $230 million in 2020-21 and $154 million in the current fiscal year.


WATCH: Democrat Yadira Caraveo hits the airwaves with TV ad in Colorado's 8th CD