The Bell Policy Center seeks to use constitutional reform and tax modernization to ensure adequate funding for public services that help families get ahead and stay ahead. Colorado’s public sector is a key partner in creating conditions that foster opportunity, but it faces structural challenges that threaten its ability to play that role:
- Outdated tax system. Our tax system is inefficient and outdated, meaning it cannot keep pace with economic growth, an aging population, rising health costs or our education and workforce needs.
- Contradictory constitution. The ability to modernize that system is limited by complicated and contradictory requirements in the state constitution — requirements that can only be reformed through costly ballot measures.
- Underfunded education. Our K-12 education system is almost $1 billion below the level approved by voters, and our colleges and universities are one major recession away from losing state funding entirely.
- Inattention to aging population. The state has done virtually nothing to prepare for the long-term care and other needs of its rapidly aging population.
All of this is why fiscal reform has been at the top of our agenda since day one. We authored the report in 2003 that galvanized the movement for change, and we continue to be a leader of that movement.
- Ballot effort to provide additional revenue. Partner with a wide range of parties on a ballot effort to provide additional revenues and increase flexibility for state budgeters.
- Wholesale tax reform. Develop options for modernizing Colorado’s tax system, including a progressive income tax, a broader sales tax and a reformed severance tax.