Cary Kennedy: Yes on Amendment 59

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— We Coloradans have many decisions to make on this November's ballot. We will consider the most amendments to the state constitution on a single ballot since 1912 - 14 issues in all.

But there is one initiative you cannot afford to miss. The stakes are too high. Amendment 59, the Savings Account for Education (S.A.F.E.) creates a needed savings account to help our schools prepare children for the future and puts our state back on sound financial footing. It requires our politicians do the right thing - save in the good times so we are prepared in the tough times - just like Colorado families do.

In these difficult financial times, voting "yes" on Amendment 59 - the Savings Account for Education - is the responsible thing to do. Investing in education is the single best way to teach our children the skills they need and strengthen Colorado's economy. Good schools attract employers who bring good jobs with good wages.

Colorado voters have consistently supported better funding for schools. We've made progress since the days when we ranked 47th in the nation in the amount spent to educate our children, but we need to pass Amendment 59 so we don't start slipping backwards again.

Because Colorado's investment in P-12 education is well below the national average, public schools grapple year in and year out with inadequate resources. It seems as though we always are asking voters to make up for a lack of state investment in P-12 education by passing local mill levies. But these are short-term fixes when we need a long-term solution. We need a sensible and fair approach that safeguards funding for education and other priorities.

This kind of responsible change will help our community and others across the state weather the economic challenges we face today. Amendment 59 requires that in good times we put aside money for a rainy day, so even when times are bad we can continue to invest in our children and economy. And best of all, it does it without raising taxes and preserves our right to vote on future tax increases so that no tax increase can occur without the approval of a majority of voters.

At a time when it is so difficult for our leaders to come together to find solutions, there is broad, bipartisan support across the state for Amendment 59. Amendment 59 will permanently resolve the conflicts in Colorado's constitution that have prevented our state from saving and investing in education. It's been endorsed by such diverse organizations as the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, the Colorado Education Association, the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post because it is smart for our economy and will help our schools prepare our children for the jobs of the future.

Amendment 59 has built-in accountability because the money in the savings account can be used only for education so we can pay for needed reforms such as smaller class sizes and performance pay for teachers.

The Denver Post recently endorsed Amendment 59, stating, "Your family tries to set aside a few dollars for a rainy day. Why shouldn't the state?" I couldn't agree more - and that's why I will vote "yes" on Amendment 59.

Since 1995, Cary Kennedy has worked to improve planning, budgeting and education in Colorado, with an emphasis on funding for schools and children's health. She was elected Colorado State Treasurer in 2006.

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