It would require $25B tax increase
by Peter Marcus, Herald Denver Bureau
The Durango Herald Thursday, June 11, 2015
DENVER – Hundreds of signature gatherers have panned out across Colorado in an effort to place an initiative on the 2016 ballot that would create a state-based universal health-care system.
But selling Coloradans on the $25 billion tax increase will be a difficult task given voters’ past rejection of much less significant tax questions, including a 2013 initiative that would have raised $1 billion for schools.
“The tax thing, that’s going to be what people are going to want to talk about,” said Bill Semple, a Boulder resident and one of the proponents of the ColoradoCareYES initiative. “We call it a ‘premium tax,’ not just a tax. It’s a ‘premium tax’ because people wouldn’t have to pay premiums otherwise.”
If the initiative is implemented, all sources of income would be taxed at a rate of 10 percent. Taxes on wages, salaries and tips would be collected from employers and employees. Taxes on all other income sources would be collected from the taxpayer earning the income.
Proponents say 80 percent of Coloradans would pay less than what they currently pay for private health-care premiums and related costs. Proponents add that the initiative would save the state $5 billion per year in health-care costs.
“Taxes are bad if they’re wasted; if they save $5 billion, they’re a pretty good thing,” Semple said, who lost his wife to breast cancer a decade ago. “Having everyone covered saves a great deal, both economically and in terms of the suffering people go through not having good health care.”