Roads: good; Drugs: bad
Gov. Bill Owens made Wednesday a good day for transportation and a bad day for prescription medicine. On a happy note, he signed legislation that could lead to the first phase of four-laning on Highway 9 between Frisco and Breckenridge.For that to happen, voters have to approve two questions this Nov. 1, Referendum C, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) reform, and Referendum D, authorizations to bond out $1.7 billion for highway projects, including $20 million for Highway 9.The $20 million would four-lane from Breckenridge to Farmer’s Korner and finance engineering for the difficult section by Dillon Reservoir.Both have to pass. Referendum D is not good if it passes alone. TABOR reform is essential for Colorado to make progress in funding basic services, education and transportation. The reform allows the state to keep $3.1 billion in taxes TABOR would otherwise force it to refund.As we’ve said before, the refund is mostly a mirage because something like 19 special interests get first crack at refunds before the common taxpayer does.The more refunds the state keeps, the less that goes to special interests who had friends in past legislatures.Meanwhile, Owens slapped a tax increase on consumers by vetoing a bill that would have Colorado join a multistate drug purchasing pool. The money the state Medicaid program could have saved would have benefited other state programs.It also would have allowed eligible citizens to buy drugs through the program.The drug companies won and the citizens lost on this one.What Referendums C and D would do- Referendum D: If approved by voters Nov. 1, Referendum D would allow the state to use $1.7 billion in bonds to fund construction projects on roads, bridges and school buildings.It also allows the state to pay $1 billion in bonds to pay off the state’s debts, including payments to the fire and police retirement fund and the settlement of a 1998 lawsuit that claimed the way Colorado financed school construction denied some districts the funds necessary to provide adequate facilities.- Referendum C: A compromise between Republicans and Democrats in an effort to solve the state’s fiscal woes. Referendum C would allow the state to keep $3.1 billion over a period of five years that normally would be returned to taxpayers under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
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