Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Colorado Budget Woes Pinch State Services

We have a dilemma in Colorado. Click here for the Denver Post's latest article. The subject du jour is how state services will affect Colorado's poor and needy.

For years, many of us foretold of this day. It has now arrived. There are some very tough choices for us and our leaders.

Here is the nexus: Colorado's state expenses are higher than our current tax revenue.

My point today is not to play "gotcha" or "I told you so" but to offer three sober solutions plus a bonus idea.

Here they are:

Option One: Cut expenses at the risk of snipping state services that many Coloradans have come to be dependent upon them. These soft programs are not constitutionally protected for annual funding hikes(like public education funding and Amendment 23 guaranteed) and are subject to funding cuts. A good example is the proposed cut of a nursing unit in Grand Junction which will save the state gov $1.3 million but will also displace many fragile patients. The folks at home are not going to like this one.

Option Two: Take a page from the federal government or the state of California playbooks and continue spending and hope someday that Santa Claus, the federal government or a lucky star falls into the state coffers eliminating the debt. Unlikely, because rat holes simply get bigger.

Or Option Three: Take a page from the book of business common sense and enact policies that will increase tax revenue, like cutting corporate taxes and lowering other tax rates on job producers and taxpayers. Less taxes means more income that will be spent on new jobs which creates spending which in turn creates more dollars for the state treasury.

Finally, the bonus option: offer private charities incentives to expand their services to Colorado's needy. A century ago, public compassion was done excellently through private charities. These entities are more often than not well equipped to offer excellent care for those in need.

We need a stiff wind to blow away the fog which is blinding our state's leadership.

1 comment:

Richard Brandow said...

It wasn't too many years ago when there wasn't such a thing as a personal credit card, Master Card, Visa, Discover, etc. People went shopping and paid the bill with money they had in hand, or they wrote a check on what they had in the bank.

The "fog" you reference, whether we speak of it at the personal, corporate, or governmental level, has been thickened by a collective "buy today and pay much later" way of thinking now inbred into our national genome. Sadly, I believe its a tragic mutation in a socio-cultural system increasingly disconnected from its anchoring historical Christian ethic, i.e., a perspective on life that empowered a wise and prudent capitalism.

It appears to me that we're increasingly intoxicated by a romance, as it were, with paramours "our mother would never approve of." Thankfully, we can learn from our mistakes ...hopefully?

Dick Brandow