The situation in my granddaughter’s first-grade class at Needham School in Durango offers a clear example of why we need to pass Amendment 66. Her teacher, dedicated, with 34 years of teaching experience, has had the same classroom aide for the last seven years. They have developed a productive and successful relationship in that time. In August, she was informed that there was not enough money to hire her aide this year.
Lisa Brohm (Letters, Herald, Oct. 14) is dead wrong when she states that voting for Amendment 66 would be “wasting billions of dollars.” This spending would be “wasteful” in much the same way that nurses’ salaries at Mercy Hospital are “wasteful.”
If Amendment 66 passes, for incomes below $75,000, the new tax rate will be 5 percent. For incomes more than $75,000, the tax rate will be 5.9 percent. With an existing flat rate of 4.63 percent for all income levels, Colorado has nearly the lowest tax rate in the country. Seven states have no state income tax; two have tax on dividends and interest only. Of the remaining 41 states, only Arizona and North Dakota have lower tax rates. Residents of the remaining 39 states with incomes of $75,000 pay between 6 percent and 8 percent state income tax, with higher incomes taxed up to 10 percent in some states. If 66 passes, the new state tax rate will still be lower than it is in 39 states.
If you object to Amendment 66 because you don’t want a small increase in your taxes, these statistics may offer some perspective on what a fair tax rate really is. If you object to 66 because you believe that schools will only waste the money, stop by one of your local public school classrooms. In fact, I suggest critics offer to teach a class of 22 6-year-olds, without an aide, clocking the long hours a teacher really works, at school and at home grading papers and preparing lessons.
Vote “yes” on 66.