Study: Education Ballot Question Could be a Drag on Colorado's Economy, Unless it Works

Oct 10, 2013

A pair of new studies analyzed the impact of Amendment 66 on Colorado's economy.
Credit Creative Commons/Flickr/Alan Cleaver

A set of new reports show Amendment 66 will be a drag on Colorado’s economy unless there’s substantial improvement in students’ performance.

The studies came out on Wednesday. They were commissioned by a consortium of business groups including Common Sense Policy Roundtable, the Denver South Economic Development Partnership and the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation. The studies were conducted by the Business Research Division of the Leeds School of Business at C.U. Boulder.

The first study measured the economic and fiscal impacts of Amendment 66. The analysis shows the economy would lose $224 million in economic activity on average over the first 5 years, if the measure passes. In addition, the report finds the two-tiered tax will negatively impact individual income earners because it will decrease their disposable income. The report shows the tax proposal would successfully generate revenue for schools, but the boosts in education revenue would come at a wider economic cost.

The second analysis explored the broader economic implications of improved education performance, like a reduction in dropout rates. The study looked at potential future scenarios with reductions in incarceration rates and social assistance that would stem from reduced drop out’s and other educational gains. When the tax increase is coupled with the educational benefits of higher high school graduation and college matriculation rates, the impact on Colorado’s economy is net neutral to slightly positive.

The studies show that it’s not clear whether Amendment 66 will result in education reform performance measures that are equal to the expenditure.