Upcoming ballot measure may stabilize tuition rates

CU Regents are divided over Proposition CC. Photo courtesy of University of Colorado

Proposition CC divisive among CU leadership
CU Regents are divided over Proposition CC.
Photo courtesy of University of Colorado

The “Allow State to Retain Excess Revenue for Transportation and Education Measure,” known as Proposition CC, could see an increased amount of state funding for higher education by allowing the state to retain revenue above the state spending cap.

Within Colorado’s Constitution, constitutional provisions limit the power of the legislature and governor to modify tax and budget policies without the approval of Colorado’s voters.

One of these provisions, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) Amendment, sets a cap for all revenue collected by Colorado state government. Since its adoption in 1992, state and local governments cannot spend any revenue collected under existing tax rates if the amount collected exceeds the set cap. If the amount of tax revenue collected exceeds the limit, all Colorado taxpayers receive a refund check.

Proposition CC would allow the Colorado state government to retain any revenue collected that exceeds the cap to use for funding education and transportation. As a suggested change to tax revenue spending, Proposition CC must be affirmed or denied by Colorado voters.

While certain CU officials have been in vocal support of Proposition CC, such as CU System President Mark Kennedy, CU At-Large Regent Heidi Ganahl currently serves as the co-chair of the No on CC Issue Committee.  Ganahl is one of  the five Republicans on the Board of Regents out of nine total Regents.

“I’m a huge fan of keeping a voter check on government spending,” Ganahl said in an interview with Complete Colorado. “I’m not the only Republican on that board that opposes it,” Ganahl said in the same interview. 

Regent Ganahl has been contacted by The Sentry but has not given an official statement.

Those in opposition to Proposition CC largely believe that, as government spending increases, there are no restrictions as to the use of this taxpayer revenue in the future.

“TABOR refunds are, by definition, a refund of taxpayers having overpaid into our already-bloated state government,” Proposition CC opponent Laura Carno said in an interview for TABOR Yes Coalition.

On the other side of the Regent’s isle sits Democratic Regent Jack Kroll of the 1st Congressional District.

“I think we need to continue to increase resources for funding higher education,” Kroll said. With a background in economics, Kroll describes the proposition as one that could potentially stabilize tuition rates. 

“I’m of the mind that if students in their late teens and early 20s were voting at the same rate as people much older than them, college would be a lot less expensive,” Kroll said.

Kroll highlights that, if Proposition CC were to pass, the stream of revenue would not be consistent every year. If economic activity is greater one year than the next, then the amount of tax revenue would fluctuate. The university would not be able to rely on TABOR as a primary source of income, but to Kroll, any increase of state funding benefits students. 

“I will be voting for it,” Kroll confirmed.

Colorado voters will have the opportunity to approve or reject Proposition CC on Election Day, Nov. 5.

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