The cost of college — and whether Denver city sales taxes should help offset it – will get a thorough airing this fall in the buildup to the November election.
Denver voters will decide whether to increase the city’s sales tax by 0.08 percent, raising $10 million a year to bankroll college scholarships and help students without scholarships repay their loans.
The City Council voted 8-4 on Monday night to send the measure to the all-mail ballot.
To qualify, students must be under 25, enroll in an in-state higher-education program, meet family income requirements and make satisfactory academic progress.
The measure has support from powerful quarters — Mayor Michael Hancock made it a centerpiece of his inauguration speech, and business and education leaders helped craft it. The business community is framing initiative 2A as a key economic development tool that will cost relatively little (8 cents on a $100 purchase).
But skeptics question whether subsidizing higher education should be the city’s business when other more traditional roles are going wanting, including fixing sidewalks and streets.