Liberals nationwide were touting Colorado’s Amendment 66 as a magic bullet that would break voter resistance to tax increases at the state and local level and represented a different route for school reform.
Frank Bruni of the New York Times proclaimed last month that Colorado “is on the precipice of something big” if it passed a $950 million tax hike that was earmarked specifically to increase education spending, a popular item with independent and swing voters. Obama education secretary Arne Duncan said a win in Colorado would make the state “the educational model for every other state to follow.” Teacher unions spent $4 million promoting the measure, outspending opponents by at least ten-to-one.
But the model crashed on takeoff tonight. Coloradans didn’t just defeat Amendment 66, they repudiated it by a vote of 66 percent to 34. With almost all the results in, the tax hike was only winning half the votes in liberal Denver and Boulder Counties.
The Centennial State may have tilted left in recent years, but tonight’s results suggest there’s a solid counterrevolution against the liberal direction state government has taken. Two Democratic state senators, including the senate president, were recalled in September after voting for gun restrictions. Now the state’s tax-and-spend constituencies have been given a huge black eye by voters who clearly rejected the idea that education could be improved by pouring more money into the existing system.