Over 50 Organizations Urge Gov. Polis to Oppose Prop 116

Over 50 nonprofit organizations, direct service providers, and advocacy groups submitted a letter to Governor Jared Polis today urging him to oppose Proposition 116 this November. Proposition 116 is an income tax cut that would flow primarily to the wealthiest Coloradans and be paid for with severe cuts in our state budget. Fifty-five percent of this tax cut ($90 million) would go to the top 3 percent of Colorado taxpayers.

Read the full letter here.

As Colorado looks to stabilize its economy during this economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it has taken painful steps to balance its budget. Just this past legislative session, the General Assembly had to cut $3.3 billion in the form of cuts to K-12 education, health care, early childhood education, human services, and many other programs that millions of Coloradans rely on. As the letter details, these cuts have consequential human impacts with which we are just starting to grapple. What makes these cuts even more difficult is that Colorado was just starting to recover its public investments to levels that were seen prior to the Great Recession, just over a decade ago.

This tax cut would only deepen the cuts the General Assembly will have to make next year. It is anticipated the budget will have to be cut 20 percent from the projections that were made prior to the pandemic. And now Americans for Prosperity and other wealthy economic interests want to give themselves a tax cut at the expense of Coloradans who have the least, to the tune of $350 million over the next two years, and then $154 million into perpetuity.

With racial justice becoming a rallying cry through the Black Lives Matter protests that have erupted this summer, it is also important to point out that Proposition 116 would have disproportionate negative effects on Black, Indigenous, and people of color in Colorado. Those folks are overrepresented in lower income categories who will see the least from these tax cuts, while relying disproportionately on state investments, which will have to be slashed to make room in the budget for this “billionaire bailout.”

While Gov. Polis campaigned on a tax cut during his campaign in 2018 and since he became governor, he has always said he believes it should be paid for by closing loopholes in our tax code. We are confident Gov. Polis will not support Proposition 116 because he knows investments in state government, such as full-day kindergarten and pre-K for all Coloradans, are crucial to giving Coloradans the ability to move up the economic ladder.

We urge Governor Polis, and all Coloradans, to oppose Proposition 116 to ensure our government works to help everyone and not just the wealthy few.

Read the full letter below (refresh your browser if it doesn’t appear) or click here to download your own copy.