C and D will help state heal
As a native Coloradan, I’m disheartened. Some 767,000 residents lack health coverage. More than 100,000 Colorado jobs have been eliminated in recent years. Tuition at our public colleges and universities is quickly skyrocketing beyond the reach of working families. The number of Medicaid and food stamp recipients is rising at a pace far faster than the national average, and we rank 44th in child immunization rates.This is unacceptable. We simply aren’t getting the job done here in Colorado. We aren’t delivering on the promise that all Coloradans deserve a better quality of life. But on Nov. 1, we have an opportunity to change course by approving Referenda C and D. The two measures would provide a five-year time-out from the revenue and spending limits imposed by the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. We need this time-out to recover from both the economic recession and TABOR’s so-called “ratchet effect.”Combined, these two factors have contributed to a $1 billion reduction of state services. We’re spending 20 percent less on higher education than we did four years ago. Funding for kindergarten, preschool, library health care and other programs has been slashed. Basic infrastructure like roads and highways is falling apart, and we have no hope of growing new jobs and rebuilding our economy if the transportation network is in disarray.Referenda C and D will get us on the path to economic recovery and begin to move us forward.What they won’t do is raise the tax rate. They won’t abolish our balanced-budget rules. And they won’t eliminate voters’ existing right to approve or reject tax increases. But they will set the state back on a course of fiscal sanity.They will let us grow jobs, improve our schools and keep our children and senior citizens healthy. They will give companies a reason to relocate and remain here. They will move us forward. We have an opportunity to preserve our schools, colleges, roads, health programs and parks. We have an opportunity to bring state fiscal policy into the 21st century to meet the demands of a 21st century economy and the needs of a 21st century population base.As someone who earned two degrees from public universities in Colorado thanks to student aid programs, I know first-hand the opportunities that government can provide. My children and your children deserve the same opportunity. It was heartening to see Democratic and Republican leaders in the Statehouse set aside their partisan differences, jointly craft C&D and overwhelmingly refer these tandem measures to the Nov. 1 ballot.Now, as the Democratic candidate for governor, I urge Democratic and Republican voters alike to follow their lead and vote yes on C&D. Bill Ritter was the district attorney of Denver from 1993 to January 2005. He is seeking the Democratic nomination to become the next governor of Colorado.Vail, Colorado
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