Vote Yes on C and D: Just the facts | SteamboatToday.com

Vote Yes on C and D: Just the facts

Colorado was hit hard by the recession that began in 2001. We lost thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenue. This forced extensive cuts in education and health services as well as funds for schools, roads and bridges. Cuts that have already occurred include:

Education: From 2001 to 2005, state spending on higher education fell by 21.3 percent ($152 million). In 2002-03 legislators eliminated funding for all-day kindergarten in poor districts and cut $15 million for textbooks. In 2004, they cut nearly $11.9 million from Read to Achieve.

Health Care: Spending for low-income health care through Medicaid plummeted $133 million in 2002-03; Colorado’s Medicaid transportation budget fell $7.6 million in 2004. Colorado’s federal match for Medicaid was reduced to the lowest level the law allows. Funding for community mental-health services dropped nearly $6.6 million from 2002 to 2004.

Roads, Bridges and Facilities: Since 2000, CDOT’s operations budget has been cut $220 million, and repair and maintenance funding for state buildings and higher education facilities was cut $189.8 million. Another $55 million for K-12 repair and maintenance was unfunded.

All the above information is from the Joint Budget Committee Report.

Such cuts generated consequences.Colorado ranks 47th in K-12 funding, 48th in high school graduation, 48th in prenatal care and 50th in immunizations of 3-year-olds. About 750,000 Coloradans lack health insurance. Colorado has eliminated affordable housing loans and grants. Almost 500 bridges need major repairs or complete replacement, while schools with leaking roofs, broken furnaces and asbestos-lined pipes have forgone critical repairs.

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We can serve our citizens better. Referendums C and D constitute a bipartisan solution approved by 70 out of 100 state legislators. They are backed by business associations and service organizations.

As to the amount of money that will be spent for Referendums C and D, check the Blue Book. The nonpartisan research staff of the state Legislature estimates an average of $491 per taxpayer during five years. This averages out to 27 cents a day. It’s a bargain.

People ask whether this money will really be used as planned. Have no fear. The Legislature is required to annually report all these expenditures to voters. People also ask about the TV ads against C and D. Those ads are largely financed by money from out of state. The Vote Yes on C and D campaign is financed by Coloradans for Coloradans.

Even with the passage of C and D, our state is one of the most frugal in the country. Our total tax paid per $1,000 income is the lowest of all 50 states (Colorado Tax Handbook, Jan. 2005). Furthermore, Colorado’s constitutional spending increase limitation will remain in effect. Lawmakers will have to live within that 6 percent limit.

We urge you to invest in the future of Colorado. Vote “yes” on C and D.

The Vote Yes on C and D Steering Committee of Routt County, Bill Haight and Ben Beall, co-chairmen