Colorado’s kids are at risk of falling behind because preschool is unaffordable and inaccessible to countless working families. We know that kids who attend preschool are less likely to have reading deficiencies, half as likely to be held back by third grade, and more likely to graduate on time – but Colorado is unable to provide access to quality preschool for all our kids. This measure would provide every Colorado four year-old with access to free quality preschool.
We also know that our public schools are facing catastrophic budget cuts of nearly half-a-billion dollars due to the global pandemic, with rural districts being hurt the worst. This measure would provide public school funding to help offset the drastic loss of revenue caused by COVID-19.
We know that smoking and vaping kills. We also know that increasing taxes on highly addictive nicotine products like cigarettes and vape ultimately has the effect of encouraging more people, particularly teens, to break their addictions and stop using the products. This helps more people live healthier lives. Currently, Colorado has one of the lowest tobacco tax rates in the country and does not tax vape products.
We can solve a critical public health problem and provide needed funding for education that will ensure all kids get a strong start in life.
Taxes on tobacco products will increase incrementally beginning in 2021. The increase will result in a tax of $2.64 per pack of cigarettes in 2027 when the new tax is fully phased in. Vape products, which are currently not taxed, will receive the same tax rate as other tobacco products. All funds from Proposition EE are locked into state law and will be audited yearly to ensure all money is going to where voters directed.
The measure is expected to raise about $176 million in its first full year and about $275 million a year when the tax is fully phased in in 2027 – of which an estimated $242 million will go to provide universal, free preschool for all Colorado four year-olds.
All funds from Proposition EE are locked into state law and will be audited yearly to ensure all money is going to where voters directed. The majority of the revenue raised will go to fund education in Colorado in two ways. First, it will fund universal, free preschool for every child the year before they enter kindergarten. Second, it will help to stave off nearly half-a-billion in budget cuts to the state’s public schools caused by the global pandemic. An additional portion will be targeted toward the state’s rural school districts, which are disproportionately impacted by state budget cuts.
Additional revenue in the first few years will help to fund other priorities including help for renters and homeowners hurt by the pandemic and increased construction of affordable housing, as well as health care programs including primary care, children’s health, Medicaid and tobacco cessation programs.
In November, you’ll see the following initiative on your ballot. Vote YES on Proposition EE to support a healthy, bright future for Colorado kids:
SHALL STATE TAXES BE INCREASED BY $294,000,000 ANNUALLY BY IMPOSING A TAX ON NICOTINE LIQUIDS USED IN E-CIGARETTES AND OTHER VAPING PRODUCTS THAT IS EQUAL TO THE TOTAL STATE TAX ON TOBACCO PRODUCTS WHEN FULLY PHASED IN, INCREMENTALLY INCREASING THE TOBACCO PRODUCTS TAX BY UP TO 22% OF THE MANUFACTURER’S LIST PRICE, INCREMENTALLY INCREASING THE CIGARETTE TAX BY UP TO 9 CENTS PER CIGARETTE, EXPANDING THE EXISTING CIGARETTE AND TOBACCO TAXES TO APPLY TO SALES TO CONSUMERS FROM OUTSIDE OF THE STATE, ESTABLISHING A MINIMUM TAX FOR MOIST SNUFF TOBACCO PRODUCTS, CREATING AN INVENTORY TAX THAT APPLIES FOR FUTURE CIGARETTE TAX INCREASES, AND INITIALLY USING THE TAX REVENUE PRIMARILY FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDING TO HELP OFFSET REVENUE THAT HAS BEEN LOST AS A RESULT OF THE ECONOMIC IMPACTS RELATED TO COVID-19 AND THEN FOR PROGRAMS THAT REDUCE THE USE OF TOBACCO AND NICOTINE PRODUCTS, ENHANCE THE VOLUNTARY COLORADO PRESCHOOL PROGRAM AND MAKE IT WIDELY AVAILABLE FOR FREE, AND MAINTAIN THE FUNDING FOR PROGRAMS THAT CURRENTLY RECEIVE REVENUE FROM TOBACCO TAXES, WITH THE STATE KEEPING AND SPENDING ALL OF THE NEW TAX REVENUE AS A VOTER-APPROVED REVENUE CHANGE?