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Colorado Succeeds, a network of over 100 businesses from across the state committed to making the education system work better and smarter for all the people of Colorado, announces support for Proposition EE, a statewide ballot measure that would increase taxes on tobacco and vaping products to generate revenue to support K-12 education, universal preschool and nicotine cessation and education programs.
If approved in November, the measure is expected to generate $375 million for K-12 education to offset budget cuts from the pandemic, $2 billion over 10 years for universal preschool for Colorado 4-year-olds and $110 million for nicotine cessation and education. This critical revenue would help close the $2.6 billion state budget gap projected for 2021 and the $1.7 billion shortfall in 2022, without increasing income taxes or property taxes.
In addition to essential budget support for K-12 education, the measure’s funding for universal preschool is seen by Colorado Succeeds as a critical step towards a healthy economy. Early childhood education has proven to support long-term educational outcomes for children, laying the foundation for developing 21st century skills necessary to fill the jobs of the future. Children who have access to preschool are less likely to fall behind their peers in early literacy skills, half as likely to be held back through third grade, and more likely to graduate on time.
Quality preschool programs also expand parents’ ability to participate in the workforce. According to a recent study by ReadyNation, 79 percent of Colorado parents surveyed reported at least one adverse impact on their work due to childcare problems, including one-in-four saying they were reprimanded and 16 percent saying they were fired. The same study also reported that employers lose $680 million annually due to childcare challenges faced by their workforce.
The measure would also provide additional resources to support pre-K education access for low-income families, reducing their financial burden and allowing them to spend personal income on other goods and services.
The proposed universal preschool would be offered for at least 10 hours a week to all children in the year prior to kindergarten, while ensuring that dollars are community centered, allowing for parental choice and assurances that providers meet quality program standards.
“Proposition EE is a win-win that provides a pathway to universal preschool and will significantly impact health outcomes for our children, families and communities,” said Adeeb Khan, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at Delta Dental of Colorado and a member of Colorado Succeeds’ Early Childhood Education Advisory Committee. “Investing in early childcare and education is simply the best way to secure our economic future. I encourage all Coloradans to support this measure to provide equitable access and a stable place for our children to grow and thrive.”
For the first three years, the tax would be allocated to address state budget shortfalls, including a total of $11.7 million per year to assist Coloradans struggling with housing costs, $90 million over the three years to support rural education and a total of $330 million to the state’s K-12 education fund. Beginning in 2024, universal preschool would begin receiving the revenue balance, allowing programs to begin in the fall of 2023. Funding is expected to grow in future years as tax rates increase, providing an estimated $2 billion for preschool over the next decade.
Colorado Succeeds strongly urges Coloradans to vote yes on Proposition EE. “By supporting Prop EE, business has a real opportunity to support Colorado’s kids and the state’s economy,” said Scott Laband, President of Colorado Succeeds. “We’re proud to join over 100 organizations in addressing the budget challenges facing our state’s K-12 education system and providing universal access to early childhood education that serves as a critical foundation for student achievement and workforce development.”
For more information and resources, visit the YES on EE campaign website.
About Colorado Succeeds
Colorado Succeeds is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition of Colorado’s business leaders who join forces to ensure our education system works better and smarter for all people of Colorado. We believe Colorado is the best place to live and work, and we want it to stay that way. This great state can only continue its tradition of excellence when all of our children are educated to their greatest potential and all of our businesses have the talented and innovative workforce they need to thrive. We believe great schools are good business. We know when Colorado schools improve, everybody wins. Learn more: www.coloradosucceeds.org.
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