Back in September I wrote an article about Colorado exceeding their estimated tax revenue and the possibility that they would have to issue a refund to everyone. Just this past week, they finally voted on what to do with the excess taxes.
It all started when the taxes were decided on for the recreational marijuana market. In addition to standard taxes they agreed on two additional taxes, one at 10% and the other at 15% – all together there is a 28% tax on retail marijuana statewide.
Originally, there was an estimate of $67 million, which has nearly been reached at $66 million – however state officials estimated total revenue at $12.08 billion and the state of Colorado has now collected a total of $12.35 billion in marijuana tax revenue.
Due to their under-estimation and a 1992 policy called the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, Colorado faced having to give all that money right back to the people who spent it. Considering the original intention for the recreational tax revenue was to fund new schools and provide drug education and prevention among other things.
This week they voted and Colorado’s citizens are just as sure of it now as they were the day they agreed to the high tax in the first place – as long as the money is benefiting schools, people want the state to keep it.
So thanks to generous voters and an overwhelming support in allowing the government to allocate the money to the right places, Colorado will be seeing some major improvements in the years to come.
Here’s a quick look at where they will be spending all this tax revenue:
$40 million – public school construction
$6 million – repay general fund for money allocated in the last fiscal year
$8.1 million – marijuana related programs for lawmakers
$2.5 million – marijuana education and prevention
$2 million – dropout prevention school grants
$1 million – poison control centers
$500,000 – substance abuse screening, intervention and referral
$500,000 – substance abuse treatment
$300,000 – Future Farmers of America and 4-H programs at the state fair
$200,000 – roadside impaired driving enforcement training for police
To me, it looks like Colorado’s citizens made the right call in letting the state keep the money. Just that first one alone – $40 million to public school construction – that’s just amazing. Public schools are largely underfunded across the nation, so it’s good to see Colorado getting a chance to do something to change the situation!