League of Women Voters supports C and D | SteamboatToday.com

League of Women Voters supports C and D

The Yampa Valley League of Women Voters and the Colorado League of Women Voters have taken the unusual position of endorsing a ballot issue. League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization intent on encouraging an informed participation in the political process. These organizations rarely endorse issues unless after research and study it is deemed important to the good of the state. The leagues feel it is important to the well-being of Colorado that referendums C and D pass.

A billion dollars has been slashed from the state operating budget since 2001. The cuts are from services the public has come to rely on. This 17 percent loss for essential services can never be recovered unless the voters say “yes” to C and D, the Economic Recovery Act.

Higher education has been cut to such a degree that state support dropped from $5,365 to $3,511 a student. Amendment 23 protects K-12 education only on state-mandated programs; therefore, preschool was eliminated for 2,000 at-risk 4-year-olds, and full-day kindergarten has been eliminated in some schools.

The very health of the individuals is at risk. Colorado has one of the lowest immunization rates and one of the most restrictive Medicaid programs in the country. Low-income children lack health insurance. We face inadequate funding for public health programs such as restaurant inspections, water quality testing, and work on ways to protect the public from West Nile and other infectious diseases. Inspection of agriculture facilities and consumer products has been reduced and is in danger of being further reduced.

Thirty-nine percent of Colorado roads are rated in poor condition, and there is a several billion dollar predicted shortfall in funding for transportation needs through 2030. Funding for libraries has been cut by 79 percent.

This year, the state legislature was able to help with some of the shortfalls in small ways, but these will be reversed and the legislators will not be able to help again unless Referendums C and D are passed in Nov. 1. Legislators will have to cut an estimated $408 million over and above the $1 billion in cuts already made from all programs other thank K-12 and Medicaid.

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Colorado’s 4.63 percent tax rate is the lowest in the country of those states that have an income tax. It is only prudent to allow the state to retain the money gathered by this low rate to pay for essential services. Referendums C and D address urgent needs by allowing the state to keep and use all the revenues collected for five years, without raising taxes. We would merely let the state use the money we already provide under the current tax rate. C and D still support the right to vote on taxes and continue to maintain limits on government.

Coloradans want and deserve a state that provides essential services for the citizens of the state. The Yampa Valley League of Women Voters and Colorado League of Women Voters support the passage of Referendums C and D.

Jo Stanko

Steamboat Springs