By Veronica Morgan
The Colorado Department of Revenue has reported record setting accruals in school funding in 2015. In 2014, the total for school construction funds reached a meager $13.3 million, disappointing numbers, all around. Thus far, in 2015 the first quarter and totals through May 2015 have already exceeded the 2014 numbers, with $13.7 million raised before the six-month mark.
The Denver Post attributed the low 2014 numbers to a one-time only tax exemption that was allowed for medical dispensaries to transfer over to recreational facilities, and the fact that there are many more cannabis dispensaries than there were a year ago.
The special tax was supposed to raise $40 million per year for school construction, according to Amendment 64 passed by Colorado voters in 2012. It remains unclear if the $40 million target will be reached this year, however the increase of $400,000 – $500,000 per month, over the past three months gives indication that the state can expect up to $38 million for 2015.
State Senator, Pat Steadman, D-Denver, said, “It sounds like they’re on track for more than $30 million for this calendar year… When we talk about $40 million for school construction, I knew that was a number they would need to grow into. But it looks like we’re going to grow into it, and that’s a good thing, because I’m promoting the passage of Proposition BB this year, and voters have twice seen on the ballot the $40 million figure for school construction, and Proposition BB would help make that happen.”
Proposition BB will be on the ballot come November. It will decide if the state will refund almost $60 million to marijuana businesses and customers, or use the money for school construction, law enforcement, prevention of substance abuse, and youth services.
Sales data indicates that monthly income from cannabis related businesses averages $42.5 million per month this year, up from last October when the total was $32.4 million. According to the Cannabist, there are currently three types of taxes collected for Colorado pot sales. 2.9% is the standard sales tax, 10% marijuana sales tax, and a further 15% excise tax is placed on wholesale transfers.
Earlier this year, lawmakers took measures to insure the schools would get the promised $40 million, regardless of the actual tax revenue. Proposition BB will decide future spending.