Illuminate Colorado is proud to support Proposition ii, which would allow Colorado to retain tax revenue to fund Universal Pre-K (UPK). By ensuring continuous and adequate funding for UPK, Colorado would promote concrete supports, one of five research-based protective factors to prevent child maltreatment. By supporting Prop ii, voters can ensure funding goes towards the Preschool Program Fund for the purpose of UPK, rather than returned to nicotine and tobacco product distributors and manufacturers.
Universal Preschool is a Concrete Support that Promotes Healthy Child Development
Children need high-quality experiences and loving relationships to support healthy development. Concrete supports in times of need is a research-based protective factor that prevents child abuse and neglect.¹ Pre-K serves as child care, with added educational components, and Colorado’s newly implemented UPK provides parents and caregivers with up to 15 hours per week of preschool at no cost.²
In doing so, UPK expands opportunities for reliable, affordable, and high-quality preschool for families, promoting a concrete support in times of need and healthy child development.
Prop ii Prioritizes State Investment in Concrete Supports
In 2020, Colorado voters approved Proposition EE, which enabled Colorado to utilize tax revenue from e-liquid and vaping products that contain nicotine and from tobacco products to fund a statewide UPK system. Under TABOR, all Colorado ballot measures that increase taxes must include an estimate as to how much revenue will be raised if the ballot measure is approved.³ However, when Colorado collects more in taxes than originally estimated due to increased cost or utilization of goods, taxes must be returned in rebates, unless Colorado voters approve an additional ballot measure that allows the state to retain collected revenue.
Last year, Colorado collected $23.65 million above the original estimate set forth in Prop EE.⁴ This 2023 legislative session, the Colorado legislature passed HB23-1290, enabling Coloradans to vote on whether to retain $23.65 million in collected tax revenue to fund UPK and maintain current tax rates on nicotine and tobacco products. In November, Colorado voters will have the opportunity to approve this ballot measure with a ‘yes’ vote and ensure current and future funding for UPK.
We at Illuminate recognize the original purpose and intent behind Prop EE, as approved by voters in 2020, to support families and increase affordability of preschool for all young children by building a universal preschool system in Colorado.
Continuous and sufficient funding plays an integral role in implementing an equitable system, as intended by voters, that extends additional hours to families with needs for increased support, including families of preschoolers with disabilities who have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Prop ii is an opportunity for voters to opt to continue the important work that was approved in 2020 to build a universal preschool system and prioritize state investment in early childhood and concrete supports for families.
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- Center for the Study of Social Policy. (n.d.) About Strengthening Families and the protective factors framework. Retrieved From: https://cssp.org/our-work/projects/protective-factors-framework/
- Colorado Department of Early Childhood. (n.d.) Universal Preschool Colorado. Retrieved from: https://cdec.colorado.gov/universal-preschool-colorado
- Colo. Const. art X, § 20.
- Legislative Council of the Colorado General Assembly. (n.d.) 2023 State Ballot Information Booklet. Research Publication No. 793-2. Retrieved from: https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/images/blue_book_2023_-_english.pdf
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