July 23, 2010
For those of you who missed our July townhall, it was on Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101 and featured the following guest panelists:
- Sheila MacDonald, President Solutions West
- Mark Neuman-Lee, Policy Analyst @ Fiscal Policy Institute
- William Stuart, Chief Academic Officer, Aurora Public Schools
- Henry Sobanet, former Budget Director under Gov. Owens
Supporters of these measures were hard to find in part because they have not filed any of their campaign finance reports, but after serial evasion of process service a Judge found Douglas Bruce linked to them.
Colorado will be facing record cuts next in addition to the recent $1.2 billion in cuts, even if these measures do not pass, but here is what you can expect if they do pass:
- $2.1 BILLION in lost state revenue
- Requirement to INCREASE K-12 by $1.6 BILLION
- But no net increase to K-12 because property taxes cut by 50%
- Requiring a state back-fill to K-12 which would force 99% of the General Fund to K12
- That would leave 1% of the budget for Corrections, Higher Education, Judicial, Attorney General, Legislature, Agriculture, Regulatory Agencies, Child Welfare, Medicaid, Transportation etc.
Proposition 60 reduces school district property taxes in half by about $1.5 BILLION each year which the state would be required to backfill, triggering a minimum of another $1.5 billion cuts in state services. This is a constitutional amendment and therefore not realistically changed if passed.
Proposition 61 prohibits state from incurring any new debt and imposes new limits on the amount of local government debt and requires taxes to be reduced when debt is repaid. While it may sound appealing, the effect is eliminate economic development financing in Colorado in the avenues that are most cost-effective, which is paying for use over time (like a car payment or mortgage payment). It also has the consequence of interfering with timing or delayed invoice payments (i.e. bill and pay in 30 days). This would require the state to cut its revenue by another $500 MILLION and local governments by $2.8 BILLION. This overturns several the results of several local elections and means about 36 school districts will have to cease new public school facilities. Those districts represent about HALF of the students in the State of Colorado This is a constitutional amendment and therefore not realistically changed if passed.
Proposition 101 is expected to reduce state revenue by $1.6 BILLION per year as a result of decreased income & sales tax, vehicle registration fees, telecommunications fees. Local governments will lose $936 MILLION in revenue from specific ownership taxes and local sales taxes. The School Districts will lose about $150 MILLION (which the state will have to backfill)
Aurora Public Schools would be expected to lose 40.17%, or $1,298.76 in funding PER student or approximately $42,845,335.
In many respects these measures would take Colorado to a funding level over 100 years ago despite our population of over 5 million people. The combined effect of these measures will be to cause an explosion in the size of any remaining K-12 classrooms and cause a new recession in the anticipated loss of 70,000 jobs.
It would also force closure of public higher / conversion to private higher ed, close all or most of state prisons in Colorado, stop capital development, public safety, economic development, infrastructure investment, senior services, child welfare.
These measures will save you potentially a few hundred dollars per year and will likely sound appealing but will destroy Colorado business, jobs, schools and families.
July 23, 2010
This morning CPC (academic clinical research trials specialists) announced it is joining The Stem Cell Research Center at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. This partnership will help bridge academic research with clinical applications in some key areas of concern to most people:
And it has the potential for saving lives and teaching us more about healthy living.
- heart disease
- cardiovascular illnesses
The research at the Stem Cell center has discovered how to work with adult stem cells, "regress" them to embryonic state, "correct", grow and strategically use them in ways to replace one's own damaged cells with one's own cells that are not damaged.
This is by no means the only type of research that is going on, but this research is showing promise for restoring vision in corneal cell translants to some people who have been blind, stopping and shrinking cancerous growths (even where metastasized) by better differentiating be cancerous and non-cancerous stem cells, helping with neural degradation, blocked arteries -- you name it.
Seems real progress often comes in understanding not only the treatment or management of symptoms but understanding disease mechanisms so we can better prevent or at least cure many of those conditions that can be most disabling.
This is also good news for us regionally on the economic development front in that:
- it attracts research grants
- generates intellectual capital and property
- fosters new bio-business development
- employs more scientists and researchers
And it has the potential for saving lives and teaching us more about healthy living. This is good news for jobs, economic development, intellectual pursuits, health care and quality of life for potentially millions of people. While nothing is a "silver bullet" I think it is important to highlight progress where it is happening.