The Yes on 66 campaign released a video on Monday dubbed “The PERA Fiction” in response to the latest instance of an opponent repeating a widely discredited claim about how money raised for schools under Amendment 66 might be used.
The claim was recently made by political consultant Laura Carno during an appearance with Amendment 66 supporter Laura Chapin on The Denver Post’s video program “The Spot.”
“Colorado voters are smart enough to see through the scare tactics opponents are using,” said Yes on 66 Campaign Director Andrew Freedman. “New money raised for schools under Amendment 66 is constitutionally and statutorily prohibited from being used on anything but education reforms and program enhancements, and we’re happy to make that clear to voters.”
“We’re not agreeing to disagree. We’re saying that our opponents are wrong, period.”
“Amendment 66: The PERA Fiction” supporting materials:
Money raised by Amendment 66 CANNOT BE USED for “shoring up” PERA, as political strategist Laura Carno and others claim.
In fact, all new money raised by Amendment 66 must be placed in the newly created State Educational Achievement Fund, where it can ONLY be used for “Implementing educational reforms and programmatic enhancements.” 1
To be certain there is no question as to what qualifies as “educational reforms and programmatic enhancements,” lawmakers defined them in 19 categories in Senate Bill 213. 2
As a further protection, Amendment 66 requires an annual state audit “to ensure compliance” that new money is only spent on education reforms and program enhancements. 3
That’s why we say the money is “constitutionally and statutorily prohibited from ever being used directly to fund PERA.”
But don’t just take our word for it. In a Sept. 9, 2013, editorial headlined “The PERA Fiction on Amendment 66,” the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel editorial board called it “downright embarrassing” to base opposition ”…on the inaccurate claim that money raised by Amendment 66…could end up going to the Colorado Public Employees Retirement Fund — or PERA — instead being sent to schools.”
Steve Reynolds, the board chairman of the Western Slope business group Club 20 wrote in The Sentinel that the information being circulated that new money “would be redirected to bail out PERA is blatantly false.”
That’s right. “Blatantly false.”
There is only one way to read Amendment 66 when it comes to where the new money goes:
Shoring up PERA = FICTION
New money for classroom and programs = FACT
Amendment 66 is good for kids, it’s good for schools, and it’s good for Colorado. Don’t let the false information fool you.
End of discussion.
1Amendment 66, Sections 6a, 6c
3 Amendment 66, Section 6d
4 Grand Junction Daily Sentinel editorial, Sept. 9, 2103
5 Grand Junction Daily Sentinel guest commentary, Sept. 15, 2103