No TEA For Me: Colorado Chooses Common Good Over $66.1 Million Tax Return (VIDEO)

On Tuesday Colorado voters were given a choice about what to do with some $66.1 million in excess revenues, collected by the state last year.

Because state officials seriously underestimated the amount of tax revenue that legal pot sales would generate, under Colorado law, the state was required to return the excess $66.1 million it collected in pot taxes, unless voters decided otherwise.

Had voters chosen a refund, $25 million would have been distributed to all taxpayers in the state, regardless of whether they purchased or sold marijuana. The remainder would have been returned to purchasers and growers.

Not surprisingly, anti-government, anti-taxation teapublicans urged voters to reject proposal BB. The “Vote No on Proposal BB” campaign spun the issue in every way imaginable, urging voters to reject the “evil government’s” attempt to pick citizen’s pockets. A yes vote would be just like “voting money out of your own pocket.” The campaign claimed that the proposal was just like “writing a blank check” for¬†politicians and bureaucrats, who were trying to “steal your refund check.” The right-wing¬†even issued dire warnings to voters about how a yes vote on prop BB would surely lead to devastating future tax increases.

It’s true that Colorado voters could have chosen to put the excess money into their own pockets. But they didn’t. Instead, an overwhelming number of voters chose to use the excess tax revenues to build new schools and fund important youth programs. While the proposal definitely could have been better, the majority of the funds, $40 million, will go toward schools.

An additional $12 million is earmarked for state programs.

  • $2.5 million for marijuana education and prevention campaigns
  • $2 million for bullying prevention school grants
  • $2 million for dropout prevention school grants
  • $2 million for youth mentoring services
  • $1 million for a one-time grant to poison control centers
  • $1 million for local government marijuana impact grants
  • $500,000 for substance-abuse screening and intervention programs
  • $500,000 for substance-abuse treatment
  • $300,000 for Future Farmers of America and 4-H programs at the State Fair
  • $200,000 for roadside impaired-driving enforcement training for law enforcement

The additional $14.1 million will go to discretionary funds.

Voters could have sided with the Ayn Rand loving individualists, pocketing a small refund check that would have minimally benefited themselves. But instead they chose the collectivist approached, choosing to use their combined resources to provide for the common good of society.

Contrary to teapublican nonsense, no free market can thrive with an educated workforce. Making sure every child learns to read, write, master basic math skills and learn fundamental Scientific concepts is a good thing for everyone.

Prop BB passed by a margin of 66 to 33, with twice as many people voting in favor of the proposal, than against it.

The outcome is difficult for teapublicans to comprehend. How could voters not choose to put money into their own pockets?

Prior to the election, Vote No on Prop BB campaign chairman wrote in an op-ed:

“…every single Colorado taxpayer (not just cannabis consumers) will receive a tax refund of up to $32, if Proposition BB fails. Yes, you read that right: even if you never bought retail marijuana and never will, you still receive up to $32 yourself, if you vote “no” on Proposition BB. Thirty-two dollars is significant: $32 can buy 10 gallons of milk, the big box of diapers, dozens of eggs, pay a water bill, or put shoes on your children’s feet. By contrast, in the government’s clutches, $32 might buy a round of margaritas for thirsty bureaucrats at a taxpayer-funded “team-building” conference in Hawaii.”

And after he got done telling his readers that they could get free money, even if they never paid a cent in marijuana tax, he went on to claim that the government was trying to steal $32 right out of their pockets.

It’s no wonder Colorado voters didn’t buy the anti-government, anti-taxation propaganda. In reality, $32 is unlikely to change anyone’s life in any significant way. But collectively, $66.1 million dollars could potentially change a lot of lives.

Colorado’s vote wasn’t just a vote for education, it was an utter smack-down for the Ayn Rand “Virtues of Selfishness” philosophies touted by the republican party.

Good job, Colorado.

*Featured image credit: video screen capture KMGH in Denver