Colorado Commits fundraising tops $7.7 million

Colorado Commits to Kids, the main organization backing Amendment 66, has raised $2.7 million in the last two weeks, bring its total contributions to $7.74 million.

That moves the group’s fundraising into the $6-$10 million range that many observers had predicted was necessary to give the $950 million P-12 income tax increase a reasonable chance of passage.

The money is going out nearly as fast as it’s coming in; the committee reported spending $2.45 million in the last two weeks, including $1.46 million on advertising. Colorado Commits has been running a heavy schedule of television ads since the beginning of October.

The largest new contributions were $1 million from the National Education Association, on top of $1 million given previously, and $1.25 million from the Colorado Education Association, which gave $750,000 in previous reporting periods.

Major new contributions included:

  • $100,000 from the Colorado Health Foundation
  • $10,000 from Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, the politically connected Denver law firm
  • $125,000 from Paul Tudor Jones of the Tudor Investment Corp in Greenwich, Conn.

And former Gov. Roy Romer gave $1,000.

Other previous donors also gave substantial new contributions, including:

  • Fort Collins philanthropist and Democratic Party funder Pat Stryker gave another $175,000, bringing her total to $825,000.
  • Stand for Children gave an additional $50,000, bringing its total to $100,000.

The bulk of Colorado Commits funding has been provided by a relatively small group of donors. (See this earlier EdNews story for more details.)

In addition to advertising, the campaign spent more than $260,000 on mailing and some $486,000 in the most recent period with FieldWorks, the company that’s running the campaign’s canvassing efforts.

The campaign also has heavy salary expenses for staff and paid $24,757 in payroll taxes to the Internal Revenue Service in the last two weeks.

A66 would increase state income taxes to fund a significant overhaul of the state’s school finance system, with an emphasis on funding for preschool and full-day kindergarten and on increased funding for at-risk students and English-language learners. (See this EdNews backgrounder for all the details.)

While the conventional wisdom has been that it’s tough to pass a statewide tax increase, Colorado Commits is blowing away the competition at the campaign level.

Fundraising for the two registered opposition committees remains in small-change territory. Coloradans for Real Education Reform has raised only $10,700 and spent $6,853. Kids Before Unions has raised $7,200 and spent nothing.

The opposition received another blow Tuesday when a Denver judge tossed their lawsuit alleging irregularities in the petition process that put A66 on the ballot (see EdNews story).

A collection of other committees that support A66 reported raising a total of $68,626 in the latest reporting period. Those groups include the Bell Action Issue Committee (connected to the Bell Policy Center), the Great Education Colorado Action Committee (affiliated with the advocacy group Great Education Colorado) and Greeley Commits to Kids. Most of their spending has been on staff costs and on printing and postage.

The next financial reporting deadline for issue committees is Oct. 28, a week before Election Day on Nov. 5.