Sep 062005
 
Authors: Hallie Woods

Bipartisan legislators served fresh-grilled hog to a group of hungry constituents Tuesday evening at City Park – a stop on the politicians' cross-county walk to promote Referenda C and D.

After the crowd of more than 50 pigged out, they listened to the local elected officials explain the "Colorado Walk" and the benefits of the two pieces of legislation.

"We started at the Wyoming border and marched about 12 miles a day for three days to reach Fort Collins," said state Sen. Steve Johnson, R-Fort Collins,

The "Colorado Walk" included a rally on the CSU campus, a meeting in Old Town, and a concert at the Lincoln Center. Those participating in the walk plan to continue the movement today at Front Range Community College before moving on to Loveland.

The rally supported Referenda C and D, which would put a hold on the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR) amendment for five years, allowing the state government to withhold revenue coming into the state.

"We faced a recession in 2001 and the (state) revenue dropped $1 billion," Johnson said. "Now the economy is recovering and new money is coming into the state, but we can't keep it."

Advocates of the referenda say if C and D are not passed, education, higher education, roads and health care will all suffer because of significant decreases in state income.

"We will have $400 million in cuts in our state budgets," said state Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins.

The major concern for those in the university town is the cut in state funding for public universities. Politicians say this could not only increase tuition but also decrease the quality of higher education.

"Universities will have to become private and tuition will have to double to make-up for the differences in funding," Johnson said.

Johnson said if the referenda fail, CSU will see a 30 percent cut in state aid.

Representatives from the Colorado Contractors Association also made an appearance to remind Fort Collins citizens that roads will also be affected if TABOR is not put on hold.

"Those of us who drive to Denver on occasion realize that the highway will soon be a gridlock," Bacon said.

Politicians made sure to remind citizens that the referenda are not a tax increase. According to Johnson, the only difference will be a $49 check TABOR would normally send to all adult taxpayers.

"A lot of people think that the referendum has to do with their income refund check," said state Rep. Bob McCluskey, R-Fort Collins. "It doesn't. Everyone will still get that check."

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