Letter: Prop CC represents an investment in Colorado’s future
Healthy communities reinvest in key assets when revenues are up. Colorado is prevented from doing so because of TABOR. Proposition CC would change that.
As one who has managed public budgets for over 20 years in Colorado, I am voting for Proposition CC because it is one small step in the right direction for the state whose funding woes continue in spite of a healthy economy. Underfunding education causes us to continually rely on the smokescreen of importing our talent rather than the more sustainable model of growing our own.
Nobody in their right mind would manage their family or business budgets the way TABOR makes our state manage key assets like our transportation infrastructure, which is so vital to the future health of our economy. By demanding “refunds” when the economy of the state prospers and grows, TABOR continues to cause Colorado to rank among the poorest states in the country in K-12 education funding, as well as roads. By allowing the state to retain and invest “excess” revenues in good years, Proposition CC would cost our own household about $100 some years in refunds yet would benefit the greater good in the following ways:
- I drive 30,000 miles across Western Colorado each year for work and experience directly why Colorado is rated 47th in the nation on “rural pavement condition” (Reason Foundation).
- As a parent with a student at CSU, our family budget is heavily impacted by the fact that Colorado is rated fourth-lowest in higher education funding per student and “the share of costs paid by students and families at Colorado’s public colleges and universities has doubled” in recent years according to the Bell Policy Center.
- The four-year cost of a public education at CSU right now is just under $100K! I have no idea how average or low-income students afford college today to establish a career on a strong footing. As one who monitors public policy, I am very concerned that this underfunded priority deeply impacts our workforce development. By 2020, 74% of jobs will require higher education, yet only 49% of Colorado adults have a college degree.
- Being married to an educator who onboards new teachers, I know how paying Colorado teachers 40% less than the average salary in the state impacts talent acquisition and retention which in turn directly effects the quality of education for our kids
- Proposition CC is not a “blank check” as some claim. Funds would be distributed equally to roads, K-12 education and higher education. An annual audit of the use of funds is required to be published annually by the state auditor.
Proposition CC is not a comprehensive fix to these issues that in time will hamstring our future. It is a step in the right direction with minimal cost to households.