Proposition 119 should be the most heavily rejected ballot question of all time in Colorado, as long as readers do their research. For those who have not yet done so, here is why 119 is an insult of a proposition for tax payers and business owners, as well as students:
Proposition 119 creates LEAP, a STATE-run tutoring service overseen by a nine-member board appointed by Governor Polis in response to the pandemic and his desire to allocate funds across the state school districts however he sees fit. Prop 119 asks for money that the state should already have.
A portion of marijuana sales taxes already funds Colorado education. How much, exactly?
Over $1.7 billion dollars from marijuana sales taxes has been allocated towards public schools, infrastructure, and local government programs since marijuana was legalized.
Currently, “State Law requires 71 percent of the total to be remitted to the marijuana tax cash fund, a budget account that is statutorily required to fund health care, health education, substance abuse prevention and treatment programs and law enforcement.”
“The remaining 29 percent is then subdivided between the state public school fund and the general fund. Schools receive just over 12 percent of the total while the general fund receives greater than 15 percent.”
“In April, the public school fund received over $14 million. The account supports school construction projects and is controlled by the School Board Investment Fund, a three-member panel responsible for maintaining the fund’s capital that was established in 2016.” –marijuanamoment.net
“Meanwhile, the marijuana tax cash fund received over $16 million and the general fund received $3.5 million.”
From the Denver Post, “Voters are led to believe LEAP would be funded by an increase in marijuana taxes, but this is deceptive. LEAP would also “reallocate a portion of the public school lands income” to fund the agency. What “reallocate” really means is stripping away millions of dollars annually from the schools and children they claim to help, then diverting those precious funds into the bank account of an independent bureaucracy to contract with private providers for out-of-school programs.”
In other words, Polis uses his appointed board to pull money from wherever he wants to wherever he wants, per usual, at the expense of small business owners and YOU, the tax payer.
Don’t be fooled by some conservatives’ desire to tax the heck out of marijuana until it’s a black market only affair, reallocating millions of dollars from above ground to back underground, where many legislators apparently want it to be. This logic is nonsensical; underground, marijuana is totally untaxed, unregulated, and further away from the hands of those who continue to regulate its packaging, banking, advertising, and every single aspect of the business so bureaucratically that gangs and felons may regain control of the market.
Colorado business owners have had a hard enough year, and the marijuana industry is no different. With the passage of House Bill 1317, industry stakeholders will soon feel the pressure of mounting packaging costs and costs associated with quantity tracking, amongst a host of other issues.
Voting yes on Proposition 119 is a slap in the face to tax payers, to students, and to honest, hard working Coloradoans.
Tells your legislators to manage their money better; kids matter. Business owners matter. Bureaucratic boards don’t.
Vote NO on 119.