I am writing to express my firm opposition to Proposition II. While this measure may appear well-intentioned, it does not serve the best interests of the people of Colorado.
In 2020, Colorado voters approved Proposition EE, which increased taxes on tobacco and nicotine products to ensure funding for 10 hours of preschool for every child in the year before they attend kindergarten. These plans included optimistic funding projections with the intention of offering 15 hours of preschool for all children and 30 hours for those at risk of falling behind in school.
Regrettably, the reality did not align with these promises. Universal Preschool Colorado is currently grappling with the challenges of meeting its commitments due to limited funding. This has left many families, particularly those with low income, without access to full-time preschool, causing confusion and frustration among affected families. Many parents feel that the program pledged more than it delivers, especially concerning full-day preschool.
With Proposition II, the legislature hopes to put a band-aid on Universal Preschool Colorado. It asks taxpayers to forego a refund this year and accept the burden of higher future tax rates to fund a program that should have been adequately funded at the level approved by voters in Proposition EE.
If Proposition II passes, what will happen next year? What if there isn’t the excessive revenue from the increased taxes on tobacco and nicotine products? Will families again be denied access to full-time preschool? I recommend that we vote no on Proposition II and ask our representatives to revisit the Universal Preschool Colorado legislation to ensure adequate funding.
Universal Preschool Colorado was initially committed to providing access, whether you were low income or well off. Regrettably, this commitment appears to have come at the expense of needy families who expected to access full-day preschool. Our representatives should revisit the Universal Preschool Colorado legislation to provide preschool access, first, to low-income families.
Furthermore, Proposition II effectively increases taxes placing an additional financial burden on individuals, particularly those dealing with addiction and those with lower incomes. Rejecting Proposition II would alleviate some of this burden and provide the much-needed tax relief that these lower-income Coloradans deserve.
I strongly urge you to vote NO on Proposition II. The current situation warrants making the necessary adjustments to the Universal Preschool Colorado program to fulfill the promises made and to ensure its future success.