Colorado Proposition EE

Dedicated Funding Streams & Financing

  • Taxes


In 2020, Colorado voters approved Proposition EE, which more than tripled state taxes on cigarettes, tobacco, and vaping products, and established a dedicated funding stream for the state’s universal pre-K program. Proposition EE generated $208 million in tax revenue in fiscal year 2021-22, about $22 million more than was estimated.

In 2023, a follow up proposition, Proposition II, was approved to allow the state to retain and use the $23 million excess revenue from increased and new taxes established by Proposition EE, instead of refunding it to distributors and wholesalers. In addition, Proposition II maintains the same tax rates as Proposition EE.

Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:

Stable, robust funding is essential to expanding and improving early education. Unlike K-12 education, early education has historically been supported through a fragmented – and largely insufficient – set of federal, state, and local funds. Research suggests there is a need for more accessible, affordable, and high-quality approach to early education across the mixed-delivery system – and for better financial and professional supports for the educators who serve children and families each day; creating dedicated funding streams can therefore help states and cities address these needs and achieve these goals.

Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) show:

  • Families rely on a range of formal (e.g., Head Start, center-based care, public pre-K) and more informal (e.g., home-based, relative care) early education settings; when choosing a setting for their child, families balance many logistical constraints and personal preferences.
  • But for many families – and especially low- and middle-income families – early education choices remain tightly constrained due to issues of affordability and supply.
  • No one early education setting type is inherently of higher quality than another; children develop and learn well in every setting type, and in the study, all setting types showed room to grow in quality.
  • Early educators play a critical role in supporting the well-being of young children and families across setting types.
  • Yet their pay, benefits, and other professional supports are often inadequate in light of the job demands and their cost of living.


Learn More about ELS@H Findings

Learn more about Colorado

Context matters. Visit the Colorado profile page to learn more about its demographics, political landscape, early education programs, early education workforce, and funding sources and streams.

Visit the Colorado Profile Here
  • The state population is 5,839,926
  • The percentage of children under 6 with all available parents in the workforce is 65%
  • The rural percentage is 14.0%