Monday, October 31, 2005

Referenda C & D are no-brainers

Election day is upon us and I find myself baffled. The incredible blitz of political ad campaigns against C and D rages endlessly and op-ed pieces pour misinformation on the fire. Right now, of all times, one would think that C and D are no-brainers for Fort Collins residents. Company closures and worker attrition continue to increase the important of the university as a job provider noth directly and indirectly through student-associated business throughout town, and redistricting challenges have risen to fever pitch. Yet the futures of C and D remain murky with polls suggesting a dead heat.

Ads, financed in large part by non-Colorado funds, feature teens claiming they won't be able to go to college if C and D pass. Earnest looking actors claim they will lose thousands of dollars in refunds that would otherwise keep them afloat.

The reality is that CSU tuition is anticipated to rise 30-50% if C and D fail, and services will also have to be cut. The number of kids in the state that will not longer be able to afford a college education is astounding and the quality of that education will doubtlessly suffer. That girl who would 'otherwise be able to attend college' was apparently planning on leaving the state for a more affordable or more elite education elsewhere and needed the alleged two thousand bucks for moving expenses. Residents of Fort Collins can anticipate a drop in enrollment while those students still attending will have less expendable income. This will translate to a drop in rentors, diners and shoppers-not my idea of a healthy economy.

And what of that two-three thousand dollar 'loss'? Economists are very clear that there is NO WAY that is even possible. To achieve that, most individuals would have to qualify for every potential line-iten refund-many of which are mutually exclusive. The impact is much more likely to be to the tune of a couple hundred bucks. A couple hundred dollar investment that will maintain the local economy, the local schools and the state's infrastructure. As Jana Ley noted at the School Board Candidate Forum, there is no remaining 'low-hanging' fruit. It is your children's educations, your small businesses and your safety on the road that will pay the price if special-interest groups from Washington succeed in defeating Referendums C and D. Don't let strangers decide our future, a future they don't have to live in. Read the independent assessments and then vote for C and D.

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