In the News...
State fiscal panel accomplished a lot
By State Sen. Rollie Heath
Re: "Fiscal panel a failure," Nov. 22 guest commentary.
We could not disagree more.
It became clear that this state is virtually paralyzed by conflicting constitutional provisions. The Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation said it best: "To increase our competitiveness in a fast-moving economy, we must understand that a Gordian knot exists in Colorado's Constitution that makes governing a challenge and reallocation of state funding virtually impossible."
We asked the Long-Term Fiscal Stability Commission: "What kind of Colorado do you want?" Most people would agree that education and transportation are crucial to attracting jobs to Colorado.
The study, "Toward a More Competitive Future," says, "Educational attainment is the single most important element in job and income growth." Even though we are one of the wealthiest states in the country, we are funding K-12 education in the bottom quartile and higher education at 47th. Is this the kind of Colorado we want?
We are funding our transportation needs $500 million less than we need to just maintain our roads and bridges. Our infrastructure is crumbling right in front of our eyes. Is this the kind of Colorado we want?
It is clear we are not competitively funding these two core functions of government. The commission recognized the essential role government plays in people's lives, particularly during an economic downturn, and the commission took action.
First, it authorized a tax study because Colorado has not reviewed its tax structure in 50 years. We also authorized a more substantial rainy-day fund. And finally, the commission authorized a way for voters to review and change the contradictory fiscal constitutional provisions.
The commission set in motion a plan to deal with Colorado's long-term fiscal stability issues. Our ability to attract and retain jobs, and our economic viability, is at stake.
Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Denver, is chair of the Long-Term Fiscal Stability Commission. Signing this commentary were state Rep. Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver; Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs; Rep. Lois Court, D-Denver; and Carol Boigon, Denver City Council.