Measure to raise taxes on wealthiest Coloradans, cut them for everyone else won’t make ballot

Groups proposing a ballot measure to increase taxes on the wealthy in Colorado and cut them for everyone else announced Friday that they weren’t able to gather enough signatures to get their question on the ballot.

Proponents of Initiative 271 cited difficulties brought on by the coronavirus in collecting the required number of signatures for the citizen-led initiative. They also said a Colorado Supreme Court decision that reversed Gov. Jared Polis’s executive order that made it easier to collect signatures hindered their effort.

“Unfortunately for us, and we think the whole state, we will not be moving forward with the Fair Tax Colorado ballot measure,” Scott Wasserman, president of the Bell Policy Center, told The Denver Post.

Unlike other ballot questions that required 124,632 valid voter signatures to be submitted by the Aug. 3 deadline, Initiative 271 had another hurdle: Constitutional amendments additionally require signatures of 2% of registered voters in every

The ballot measure was expected to raise billions of dollars by lowering Colorado’s income tax from 4.63% to 4.58% for every person making up to $250,000 and raising the tax rate for those making $250,000 or higher to 7% of their federal taxable income after the first $250,000 and up to $500,000.

Wasserman said it’s frustrating that the proposal saw widespread support, but voters won’t be able to make a decision on it in a presidential election year. But they don’t plan to give up.

“We’ll be back at it in 2022,” he said.

Earlier this week, backers of three initiatives submitted signatures for verification to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, including:

  • Initiative 257, a measure that would allow communities to change gaming limits through local elections
  • Initiative 295, a measure that would ask voters to approve through statewide elections any future fees for new state programs in which the projected or actual revenue exceeds $100 million in its first five years
  • Initiative 306, a measure that would ask voters to reduce the state income tax rate from 4.63% to 4.55%

Organizers of a campaign to ask voters to approve a paid medical and family leave program planned to submit 205,443 signatures for verification to the secretary of state’s office Friday. The campaign launched as a response to efforts at the Colorado legislature earlier this year to try and pass a similar program, which ultimately failed.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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