Frequently Asked Questions

Click here to read FTC’s No on Prop 116 one pager.

How much of a benefit will wealthy Coloradans see if Proposition 116 passes?

If Proposition 116 passes, someone making $1 million a year will get a tax cut of $800, while the average Colorado taxpayer who makes just over $46,000 a year would see only $37 in tax savings. In fact, 55% of the Prop 116’s benefits — $90 million — would go to the top 3% of Colorado taxpayers.

An across-the-board tax cut like Proposition 116 makes Colorado’s tax code even more unfair for families with low and middle incomes. Our communities need revenue to address the economic fallout of COVID-19, but Prop 116 will make even deeper cuts to services we need just so the wealthiest Coloradans can avoid paying their fair share.

How does Proposition 116 affect Colorado’s state budget?

Colorado has already cut $3.3 billion across the budget this year. This 25% total cut has been devastating for hundreds of thousands of Coloradans and no part of our state’s budget was spared. Some of the cuts we have already seen:

  • K-12 education funding was cut by $572.4 million, with Colorado now $1.2 billion behind its constitutional obligation to maintain and increase K-12 school funding. Schools have begun lowering salaries, furloughing employees, and are struggling to meet the extraordinary demands presented by COVID-19. 
  • Child care providers are starting to close their doors forever – there has been a reduction of 44,125 child care slots in the state – leaving children without early education and their parents without care.
  • Community provider rates were cut, affecting 1.2 million Coloradans on Medicaid who will have less access due to fewer providers accepting Medicaid. This will especially impact Black, Indigenous, and people of color who are overrepresented in the Medicaid population.
  • Human services waitlists are growing again and funding to help people navigate the processes ($18.8 million in state appropriations) to receive aid was eliminated, leaving thousands of Coloradans struggling to just receive aid to which they are entitled.

Prop 116 would demand another $154 million cut from our budget. To put that into context:

  • $160 million is the cost of the Senior Homestead and Disabled Veteran Property Tax Exemption.
  • Full-day kindergarten costs $200 million per year, just a little more than this tax cut.
  • $154 million is the equivalent of sending 18,160 kids to school for a year in Colorado.
  • Proposition 116 would cost the state more than it costs the state to educate all K-12 students in Mesa and Montrose Counties, which is $145.7 million.

We can’t afford to give the wealthiest Coloradans another tax break when so many families are struggling with the massive cuts to services and programs they rely on.

How does Proposition 116 affect racial equity in Colorado?

Economic justice and racial justice are intertwined. The current unfairness in Colorado’s tax system disproportionately hurts people of color, specifically Black Coloradans. If passed, Prop 116 will only make our tax code less equitable and ensure the rich get richer while communities of color continue to be negatively affected by systemic underfunding in schools, health care, and housing.

The tax code is rooted in racist policies, but with targeted reform, it can become a tool for racial justice. Learn more about what Fair Tax Colorado’s vision is for a fair tax system.

How does Proposition 116 affect Colorado’s economic recovery from COVID-19?

For too long, Colorado’s unfair tax system has limited Colorado’s ability to properly fix our roads and fund our schools, let alone prepare for a crisis like COVID-19. Proposition 116 will not only continue decades of unfairness, but it will also add huge bumps on Colorado’s road to recovery by cutting funding to vital services Coloradans need in the wake of COVID-19.

Now more than ever, we see why investing in our health, our schools, and our economy is critical to Colorado communities. When you add in the repercussions of this public health crisis in our own homes and across the state, it’s clear we can’t cut our way to recovery. But that’s what Prop 116 will require us to do, all while giving hundreds and thousands to the top 3% of Coloradans who have been largely unaffected by COVID-19’s negative impacts.

Learn more about what how a fair tax system could help Colorado as we look to recover from COVID-19 and beyond.

Why isn’t a single tax rate (flat tax) equitable? 

Income tax is just one portion of state and local taxes in Colorado. Once you factor in things like property and sales tax, the poorest 20% of Coloradans actually pay a higher share of their income in taxes than the top 1%.

What is an “effective tax rate”?

Your effective tax rate is the average rate you pay based on all your taxable income.

Who’s behind Fair Tax Colorado?

Fair Tax Colorado is an effort that came out of the Vision 2020 Network, a network of organizations that have been working for the last few years to develop solutions to our unfair and inadequate tax code. Organizations who are part of Fair Tax Colorado include American Federation of Teachers, the Bell Policy Center, Colorado Education Association, Colorado People’s Alliance, Colorado Fiscal Institute, Great Education Colorado, Together Colorado, and United for a New Economy.