Election Day is just one week away and there are several measures on this year’s ballot that could impact both current and future public investments in children and youth. (And we expect a significant uptick in measures to establish new voter-approved children’s funds on next year’s November ballots!) Keep reading to learn more about the state and local measures we’ll be tracking on November 7.

Texas—State Proposition 2

Texans will vote on a state constitutional amendment that would grant authority to local governments to exempt child care facilities from property taxes. If passed, the amendment would activate state Senate Bill 1145, which would allow counties and municipalities to provide a local tax exemption of 50% to 100% of the appraised value of any property used to operate a child care facility that provides subsidized care to infants and toddlers from low-income families. The bill also would require landlords who lease to child care facilities to inform the operator about the tax reduction and apply a credit toward rent in proportion with the tax savings. Supporters hope that the cost savings will help those parts of Texas that have a limited number of available child care slots—locations known as child care deserts—and provide relief for existing child care programs. If approved, the new measure would take effect on January 1, 2024.

Colorado—State Proposition II

If approved next week, Colorado’s State Proposition II would allow the state to keep the excess funds collected from taxes on liquid nicotine products and tobacco products and use those funds to support children in the state. This measure is a follow-up from one passed in 2020, when Colorado voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition EE to close the vaping loophole by taxing liquid nicotine products, increase the existing tax rate of tobacco products, and dedicate that revenue to health and education programs. As a result, Colorado launched its universal preschool program this year. From 2021 to 2022, the state collected approximately $24 million more than initially projected to voters, and state law requires voters to approve the spending of these excess funds. If voters fail to approve State Proposition II next week, the state would be required to return excess revenue to wholesalers and distributors, and reduce future tax rates to match the projected revenue of the original Proposition EE.

Pueblo, CO—Ballot Issue 2A

Voters in Pueblo, CO, will decide if the city should increase its lodging tax to create a dedicated fund to support child care. The 1.5% proposed increase would raise an estimated $630,000 annually, and would cost visitors staying in Pueblo hotels and motels an average of $1.77 per night. The fund is intended to extend access to child care support for families who do not qualify for the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program, which is administered by the Colorado Department of Early Childhood. If passed, families earning between 200% and 750% of the federal poverty level could apply to receive financial support for child care costs. Families earning less would remain eligible for support from the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program.

Richmond, VA—Casino Gaming Referendum

Voters in Richmond, VA, will again be asked to approve the construction and operation of a new casino in the city, after narrowly rejecting a similar proposal in 2021. This time around, the proposal comes with a pledge from Mayor Levar Stoney to dedicate gaming tax revenue, estimated at $19 million annually, to a new Richmond Child Care and Education Trust Fund. The city plans to use the fund to provide tuition assistance, increase the availability of high-quality child care and education, and support child care workers seeking to advance their careers through training and credentials. If passed, the city also would receive an upfront payment of $26.5 million. Of those funds, $14 million would be used to construct two new child care and education centers, $4.5 million would seed the trust fund, and the remainder would support parks and recreation projects.

Denver, CO—Referred Question 2P

This year, the Denver City Council placed Referred Question 2P on the ballot asking voters to renew the Denver Preschool Program and make the dedicated sales tax that supports it permanent. In 2006, Denver voters initially approved a 10-year 0.12% sales tax increase to launch the Denver Preschool Program. Then, in 2014, voters extended the tax an additional decade and approved an increase to 0.15%. If this year’s measure passes, revenue for the Denver Preschool Program would be sustained indefinitely without the need for voter approval unless an increase were necessary. The Denver Preschool Program provides tuition assistance for Denver families with priority given to families with the greatest economic need. It distributed $18.3 million in 2022. Denver Preschool Program will work alongside the new Universal Preschool Colorado program to offer additional preschool hours and has expanded the program to provide tuition assistance for 3-year-olds from low-income households.

Be sure to check back at the end of November to read about the election results and their implications for future dedicated children’s funding. To learn more about the children’s funding movement and how Children’s Funding Project helps local communities secure funding for kids, check out our collection of voter-approved children’s fund resources.

Dan Whitaker is a senior policy associate at Children’s Funding Project.