Editorial: Colorado’s marijuana money mistake




Denver Post reporters set out 4 months in the past to reply some of the widespread questions amongst our readers: “What about the marijuana money?”

We hear it on a regular basis. Voters are contemplating an revenue tax enhance for faculties: “can’t they just use some of those pot dollars?” Lawmakers are griping in regards to the impression of Gallagher on the state finances: “wait, I thought that’s why my pot is so expensive?”

The reply to these questions — specified by a multi-part collection known as “State of Marijuana” — isn’t earth shattering, however it’s illuminative of all that’s mistaken with Colorado’s damaged finances.

The collection didn’t uncover a hidden slush fund or different misdeeds.

Instead it discovered that the roughly $250 million collected yearly on the state degree from pot taxes is funneled by means of a variety of small grant-programs and divvied up a dozen occasions till the money lands with a thud as a substitute of with a bang.

While the entire applications highlighted within the investigative collection are worthy of monetary funding, none of them have the type of large-scale impression voters appear to have anticipated once they accredited Amendment 64 in 2012.

This is a persistent downside with Colorado’s finances. The state badly wants extra income for primary companies like roads, faculties, baby welfare applications, corrections and different primary authorities capabilities. However, when a brand new income supply magically seems – like marijuana income, or severance taxes on oil and fuel, or the handfuls of charges imposed in lieu of taxes – not one of the money goes to core companies.

Part of that is because of typical knowledge: don’t use one-time for long-term wants. In the case of marijuana and severance taxes the knowledge was a bit completely different: don’t use extremely risky income sources for issues that may come to depend on the money that is probably not there at some point.

We agree with these arguments, and have at occasions supported such budgetary approaches.

Colorado voters, alternatively, despatched a transparent message once they defeated two proposed tax will increase in November’s election: discover the money within the present finances for faculties and roads. That is a tough message to listen to. We supported a tax enhance to pay for billions of in infrastructure wants on the state degree and have supported revenue tax will increase for training previously. We vehemently suppose the state wants extra money.

And but, the State of Marijuana has us questioning whether or not there isn’t a greater solution to do issues on this state than divide our sources up into one-time grant allocations. Lawmakers ought to learn the collection with care and think about whether or not taxpayer are getting used properly.

These are uncomfortable conversations to have. We’re glad, for instance, that Dr. Nicole Tartaglia has $1.35 million grant for 3 years to review the consequences of hashish on youngsters with autism. That is critically necessary work as compelling anecdotes and restricted research to this point have indicated CBD may very well be a life-changing drug for folks on the autism spectrum or these with seizures. More analysis is required.

Do you recognize what else is badly wanted on this state and extra carefully aligns with the mission of state authorities? Fully-funded faculties and about $7 billion in transportation tasks.

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