Virgilio Licona, MD, is associate medical director of Salud Family Health Centers and a member of the Colorado Health Foundation’s Board of Directors.
From all corners of the state and the country, we hear the cry from some for smaller government and reduced taxes without any consideration for the implications on our society in any pragmatic sense.
The passage of Amendments 60 and 61, combined with Proposition 101, would clearly bring about horrendous cuts in basic services to our state’s most vulnerable.
The negative results might take decades to overcome. As a safety net provider, I deal with these realities daily and am appalled at the misinformation spread by proponents of the ballot measures. Let’s take a look at some effects and implications:
- If voters approve the ugly three, we could see a 50 percent reduction in K-12 education funding. How far do we “dumb down” before we realize that education is critical for our immediate and long-term future?
- According to estimates, the passage of 60, 61 and 101 would cut funding for non-school-related programs by as much as 92 percent. That includes essential programs like corrections, human services and health care. The cuts would come at a time when there is already growing need for these services and inadequate resources to meet that demand.
- Proposition 101 would ultimately lower state income tax revenue by $1.2 billion dollars a year -- with serious ramifications for the Colorado’s general fund. If Proposition 101 passed, the inevitable cuts in Medicaid and Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) would be magnified by the loss in federal matching funding for these programs dollar-for-dollar. Do we immunize fewer children to offset this loss? Do we provide less oral health care?
- Approving the ugly three ballot measures would result in a loss of roughly 11,000 jobs in the health care sector alone. Additionally, about 60,000 jobs would be lost from the construction, education and governmental sectors. That would send thousands of Coloradans seeking services such as Medicaid, CHP+, etc., at a time when those programs face dramatic cuts.
One can only hope that we all appreciate the need for an adequately sized government to meets the needs of all Coloradans: not more, but not less. We should vote no on 60, 61 and 101.