On August 25, 2021, the Colorado Secretary of State announced that Initiative 25 had qualified for the November 2021 vote.
The initiative would create the Learning Enrichment and Academic Progress Program, also known as the LEAP program. Eligible children include children aged five or more and no older than 17 who are eligible for admission to Colorado public schools. The program would provide extra-curricular services that would include, but are not limited to:
- Tutoring in core subjects,
- Lessons in English and foreign languages,
- professional and technical training,
- emotional and physical therapy,
- mental health services,
- special support for students with special needs and
The services would not include school tuition or credit recovery programs regardless of the time of day the program is taught. Services would also exclude everything for which school fees are paid.
The initiative would establish the Fund for Learning, Enrichment and Academic Progress. Under the initiative, no more than 10% of the funds may be used to administer the program after the end of the 2025 financial year.
The Colorado Learning Authority could apply for gifts, grants, donations, loans, and government assistance. At the end of the third and fourth quarters of the 2021-2022 fiscal year, the state treasurer would have to transfer the same amount from the general fund that is currently flowing to the state public school fund from the sale and lease of sand, gravel, clay, stone, coal, oil , Gas, geothermal resources, gold, silver or other minerals on public school premises. At the end of each subsequent fiscal year, the state treasurer would have to transfer the money transferred to the state public school fund from the general fund to the LEAP fund. The amount would be exempt from any income and expenditure restrictions. The Fiscal Impact Statement prepared by the Legislative Council estimates that amount at $ 22 million
The measure would gradually increase the retail sales tax on marijuana from 15% to 20% to partially fund the program. Starting January 2022, there will be an additional 3% marijuana retail tax for a total of 18%. From January 2023, the additional tax would be increased to 4%, for a total of 19%. After January 2024, the additional tax would rise to 5%, making a total tax of 20% on retail marijuana sales. From January 2022, the state treasurer would have to transfer the income from the additional marijuana tax to the Learning Enrichment and Academic Progress Fund on a monthly basis.
The initiative would increase government revenue by an estimated $ 137.6 million per year once the tax is fully increased to 20%.
Sponsors submitted 203,335 signatures and 145,076 were predicted to be valid based on a sample review of 5% of the submitted signatures. To qualify, 124,632 signatures had to be valid.
Learning opportunities for Colorado’s children (LEAP 4 Co) registered as a theme committee to support the initiative. According to reports that included information as of July 27, the committee reported $ 1.61 million in donations and $ 846,969 in expenses. Gary Community Investment Company and Ready Colorado made 98.87% of the contributions. So far, the campaign has said it spent $ 683,790 on collecting signatures with Blitz Canvassing.
Colorado for school vouchers registered as a thematic committee to oppose the initiative. The committee has not yet reported any campaign funding activities. The next campaign funding reports are due on September 10, 2021.
LEAP 4 Cosaid: “Despite the heroic work of educators and school districts under unprecedented circumstances, many school children in Colorado have fallen further behind – especially black students, those from low-income families or those with special needs. This “opportunity gap” and “performance gap” has been a major concern in Colorado for years. COVID only made the situation worse. Out-of-school learning has proven to be an effective tool in closing the gap, but not everyone can afford it. After COVID, closing the gap has become particularly urgent. Now is the time to take the first step because the future of so many young people is at stake. “
Public education taxpayers who oppose the initiative said: “Initiative 25 is a public school voucher scheme that would undermine Colorado’s public schools and potentially divert money into private institutions that could discriminate against students based on their religion, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status, or origin.
The deadline for submitting signatures for initiatives aimed at the November 2021 vote was August 2nd. Campaigns for two other initiatives had signed up by this deadline: the Custody Fund Allocation Initiative (# 19) and the Lowering of Property Tax Rates and Withholding of $ 25 Million in TABOR Excess Income Initiative (# 27).
Initiative 27 was also certified. Proponents submitted 192,562 signatures on August 2. The State Department announced on Aug. 26 that proponents had submitted 138,567 valid signatures, based on a random check of 5% of the submitted signatures.
From 2016 to 2020, successful petition campaigns cost an average of about $ 850,000, from volunteer efforts all the way up to $ 2.2 million.
Actions eligible for statewide voting in Colorado in odd years are limited to issues involving taxes or state tax matters arising from TABOR, the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (Section 20 of Article X of the Colorado Constitution), result. This requirement was incorporated into state law in 1994.
Actions that can be taken on odd-year ballots include actions that introduce new taxes, tax increases, a tax widening, changes in tax policy that result in a net tax gain, changes in revenue or tax obligations, delays in voting on electoral issues and Permit the state to withhold and spend government revenue that would otherwise be refunded if an estimate on the ballot information leaflet were exceeded.
The last time an initiative in Colorado appeared on an odd-year ballot box was in 2013. The measure that was rejected would have changed Colorado’s flat income tax rate to a graduated income rate with elevated rates. At least $ 10.4 million has been raised to support the initiative.
In 2020, Colorado had eight initiatives on the ballot. Campaigns in support of the measures received an average of $ 3.36 million in grants and $ 2.49 million in opposition grants. Campaigns that support and oppose the eight initiatives in the 2020 Vote, combined reported $ 46.8 million in donations.