Thursday, May 26, 2011

What is Senator Rollie Heath’s Ballot Proposal?

SUMMARY - Senator Rollie Heath’s Ballot Proposal

The Heath initiative would restore state income, corporate and sales taxes to their 1999 levels primarily for the benefit of education:

-Corporate income tax and personal income tax rates would increase from 4.63% to 5%.
-The state sales tax rate would increase from 2.9% to 3%.
-The initiative would raise an anticipated $532 million per year.
-The new funds would go toward preventing further cuts to education - preschool through higher education - and, depending on the economy and recovery, could begin restoring funding for some of the devastating cuts of the past three years.
-The new rates would be in effect temporarily for five years, beginning in January 2012.

-Without ballot action, it is anticipated that P-12 will face a fourth year of deep cuts in the 2012-13 school year and higher education will continue to experience significantly diminished state funding, resulting in higher tuition, reduced financial aid, and possibly even closures of colleges and departments.

-While this initiative will not reverse the cuts schools and colleges have endured over the past four years, it will help to prevent or minimize future cuts.

-This initiative provides the ONLY opportunity available to stop deep cuts in the 2012-13 school year.

-The proposal simply restores tax rates to 1999 levels.

-The proposal’s five-year limit is intended to ensure that the initiative cannot be viewed as a permanent solution to public education funding. This initiative is like a tourniquet that will prevent more irreparable cuts while providing a few years to build consensus on long-term fiscal reform.

Ballot Requirements:
More than 85,000 valid signatures of current registered voters must be submitted by August 1, 2011. That will require between 130,000 – 150,000 total signatures to be collected.

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