Robert Fulghum’s popular book “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” reminds us of the simple ethical code we learned as children. “Play fair” and “don’t take things that aren’t yours” aren’t just for the playground; how we treat each other is just as important in the adult world. Adults need reminders like Fulghum’s book because it’s all too easy to forget these plain truths, especially in an election year.
Basic fairness is at stake next week as voters determine whether to accept a billion-dollar income tax increase. The voters have faced tax hikes before, but this one is different in that it divides Colorado’s communities, families, and students and treats them unequally.
Residents in Jefferson, Douglas, Boulder counties will pay 32 percent of the new taxes but receive only 17.7 pecent of the new revenue for their schools. Just 56 cents of every new dollar in taxes paid by Jefferson County residents will go to Jefferson County schools. Families in Douglas County would only see 50 cents of every new tax dollar they pay go to their public schools’ needs. Denver and Aurora communities will receive a disproportionally higher level of new funding. The inequality will play out like this: A school in a Lakewood community just blocks from the Denver line will receive proportionally fewer dollars than a nearby Denver that educates a similar group of students.
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