Jefferson County school mill increase, Proposition 3A, 2008

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The Jefferson County school district mill increase, Proposition 3A will appear on the November 4, 2008 ballot in Jefferson and Broomfield counties in Colorado.

The proposal asks whether voters in the district want to increase their taxes by $34 million annually through a new property tax levy of 4.4 mills.

The measure was defeated.[1]

  • Yes: 131,824 (45.21%)
  • No: 141,915 (48.67%)Defeatedd

TABOR notice causes controversy

Proposition 3A achieved notoriety in October because of a ballot argument in the voter's pamphlet.

The statement, submitted by Thomas Graham, a senior citizen and Arvada resident, writes in the "pro" part of the pamphlet that if the mill levy passes:

  • It would result in six figure salaries for beginning teachers within three or four years.
  • "Senior citizens with fixed incomes are hard-pressed to shoulder increases in property tax. These people should recognize that their reduced productivity calls for them to be replaced by the youth of our nation."

School district responds

Jefferson County Public Schools issued a public statement regarding Mr. Graham's comments, which were in a booklet mailed to registered voters in the county as required by law.

Their statement says, "The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights gives citizens the right to express their views on ballot measures, and have their views amplified at government expense through the so-called TABOR notice. The statement that appears in the TABOR notice is NOT the statement of the School District and the Jefferson County School District does not condone the remarks made by a citizen who submitted comments for publication in the notice that many people find misleading and offensive. Instead, court decisions make it clear that government officials may not deny a citizen access to this avenue of communication because government officials believe the citizen’s comments are sarcastic, offensive, or even dishonest. Jefferson County School District has great regard for its senior citizens; does not intend to pay its beginning teachers six figure salaries, and has no interest in establishing a socialist utopia. The Jefferson County School District is confident that the voters of the community will make an informed decision on ballot measure 3A without regard to political dirty tricks."

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