Colorado Voters Approve Special Pot Tax for Education, But Not an Income Tax
The people of Colorado have decided they want newly legalized marijuana to be subjected to a significant ‘sin’ tax, much like those on liquor and tobacco. Yesterday voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition AA which would impose a 15 percent excise tax and a special 10 percent sales tax. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, 65 percent voted yes and 35 percent voted no.
Voters in Colorado legalized marijuana last year but because of a provision in the state’s constitution the issue of taxing marijuana needed to go before the people in a separate vote.
It appears there is even greater support for taxing marijuana than making it legal. The legalization initiative last year only got 55 percent support.
The money raised by these pot taxes will be used to fund the operation of the state’s marijuana regulation system and provide money for school construction and maintenance. Interestingly, the people of Colorado also voted on Amendment 66 which would have raised income taxes to pay for eduction reform but that measure lost 35 percent yes to 65 percent no.
Coloradans are happy to raise marijuana taxes to fund eduction but not income taxes. Expect this pattern to continue. Politically it is much easier to impose taxes on ‘bad behavior’ and approve taxes that only impact a small percentage of the population. This is partly why tobacco tax increases have been so common over the past two decades.