Colorado Shuts Down Proposition 103 on Ed Funding

A resounding rejection of Proposition 103 in Colorado kills tax hikes for schools and may bode ill for Democrats.

As a heavy blizzard laid a foot of snow on Denver Tuesday night,  Colorado voters were dumping cold water on President Obama’s re-election strategy, writes Valarie Richardson at the Washington Times.

Coloradans overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 103, a statewide ballot measure that would have increased the sales and income taxes to fund education, by a margin of 64 percent to 36 percent.

The Proposition was said to have sent an estimated $2.9 billion to K-12 schools and public colleges and universities.

The vote indicates Americans may not be willing to consider higher taxes in this down economy, despite deep budget cuts to high-priority services like schools, writes Kristen Wyatt at the Huffington Post.

The Denver Post called the Election Day results “a killing field for tax measures.”

The implications were poured over by political analysts. Some noted that a tight-fisted electorate, still feeling pinched by the economy in 2011, could spell trouble for Democrats in 2012.

“Tuesday’s thumbs down on higher taxes, even with the emotional appeal of schools behind them, is one more sign that Colorado has cooled off on the kind of tax-and-spend big government that Obama represents. And that’s not a good sign for Democrats in 2012,” said John Andrews, director of the Centennial Institute at Colorado Chria kistian University.

Analysts predict next week to provide another barometer for the 2012 election, when voters in a slew of other states go to the polls. While several states are considering low-level revenue raisers such as highway bonds, nothing on the Tuesday ballot matches the ambitions of Proposition 103, but Democrats are trying to underplay the telling Colorado result.

“We certainly see this as an isolated case. This was a ballot initiative that until a few weeks ago had very little visibility,” Colorado Democratic Party spokesman Matt Inzeo said. “I would hesitate to draw too many sweeping conclusions.”

But Colorado state Sen. Rollie Heath, the Boulder Democrat who sponsored Proposition 103, in his concession speech Tuesday night, admitted that the tax hike was an idea whose time had not come.

“It’s clear the people of this state aren’t ready right now to tax themselves to solve this problem,” Mr. Heath said. “But I hope the people of this state will come together and say, ‘We need to make some changes. We need to find a way to finance our education in a different way.’“

Wednesday

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