Letter to the editor

Letter: We need better roads and education

Posted 2/23/17

In last week's article "Democrats want permanent funding for transportation," state Rep. Cole Wist, R-Centennial, criticized Colorado's Democratic House leadership for wanting to create a permanent …

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Letter to the editor

Letter: We need better roads and education

Posted

In last week's article "Democrats want permanent funding for transportation," state Rep. Cole Wist, R-Centennial, criticized Colorado's Democratic House leadership for wanting to create a permanent funding source to improve the state's congested road network that doesn't take funding away from public education. According to Rep. Wist, "Speaker Duran's call for more taxpayer revenue without any offsetting tax reductions . . . show she and the Democrats have given up on a fiscally responsible solution to transportation funding."

Wist's insistence that the Legislature find an offset for any increase in tax revenue is not responsible budgeting. It is "robbing Peter to pay Paul," and it doesn't speak well of Rep. Wist or of other Republican representatives, who seem determined to force Colorado residents to choose between having better maintained roads or having a higher quality public education for our children.

Colorado's roadway infrastructure is literally crumbling around us. In its 2013 Infrastructure Report Card, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our roads a "D," finding that over 40 percent of our highways were in "poor" condition. And that bad situation has only gotten worse as the $9 billion backlog in Colorado road projects has continued to grow.

At the same time that our roads have gone unrepaired, our public education system has been chronically underfunded, as well. According to a study by the Colorado School Finance Project, the gap between what Colorado spends per pupil, compared to the national average, grew from less than $500 per student in the early to mid-1990s to between $1,800 and $2,800 less per pupil by FY 2011-12.  

We have needs here in Colorado. We need better roads, and we need better public education, too, and we should not have to choose between them. In order to have both, we need politicians who are brave enough to tell us things that we don't want to hear. We  need our politicians to be leaders - men and women who are civic-minded enough and fiscally responsible enough to lead us to the conclusion that we are going to have to tax ourselves in order to pay for the things we need.

Stephen A. Justino

Centennial

Comments

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Michael Melio

Good article. Looked at from a 30,000 foot perspective, it is clear that many in the R party would like to see government reduced to impotent and incompetent lackeys for the business interests that lavishly fund their campaigns. Quite a few in the D party also think this way. The age of "good government" seems to be dead. But a "government of, by, and for the people" will never perish from the earth, and will remain the hope of citizens everywhere. After all, government are our representatives, there to serve the people.

But with the rise of corporate powers and a legal system that endows them with human rights, we have witnessed the demise of "good government" through a relentless media and propaganda campaign that poisons the population into thinking "government is the problem". They espouse an ideology that conveniently benefits their private financial interests, often to the detriment of people, community, and environment.

Still, there is a problem with government. And I like to define that problem by listing a few key principles of good government and the implications we can draw from them:

Principle #1: That government governs best when it is closest to the people that they serve.

Principle #2: Following on #1, the further government is from those that they serve, the less power they should wield.

Principle #3: Democracy is self-governance. And self-governance is a ruse, a sham, a hollow promise, if it is not a reality at the local City level.

Principle #4: Money is power. And the control of the money supply must be in the hands of the people through the agency of local government. "In a Capitalist world, he who controls the money (capital), controls the world."

Deriving from these principles, we conclude the following:

1. National government should be the least powerful institution of government in the nation. States should be the second least powerful institution of government. Then Counties. And the most powerful institution of government should be the City Councils that are closest to the people.

2. When State and National government usurps the powers of local government to protect and defend the local community they serve, they have destroyed democracy. The only legitimate 'interventions' of State and National governments into the rights and privileges of local City Councils are in matters of National Security (defined narrowly), protection of the human rights of minorities, and protection of the environments we all depend upon for survival.

Dillon's Law and State 'preemption' are both UnConstitutional as they both impinge upon the right of the people to govern themselves.

3. The current tax system is undemocratic and upside down. Local government should receive the lions share of the people's earnings, then counties, then states, and least of all the national government. Yet our system of taxation is the EXACT OPPOSITE of a truly democratic form of governance. The national government receives about 80% of all my tax payments, the State about 12%, and local government about 8% (figures vary per person). Flip this on its head (invert this pyramid) and you will have a better system of government.

Thursday, February 23 | Report this
Steve Justino

I see that two Republican State Legislators., Rep. Dan Thurlow of Grand Junction and Sen. Larry Crowder of Alamosa want to ask voters in November to change the TABOR Amendment to allow the state to spend hundreds of millions more each year on state priorities, such as transportation, education, and healthcare.

Good on them! THAT is the kind of political leadership that I am talking about! Rep. Wist needs to join that effort.

Sunday, February 26 | Report this