Students must step up to the plate tomorrow.
We, as an underrepresented voting demographic, have a stake in our own futures on Tuesday – Election Day.
With or without us, voters will decide whether to approve Referendums C and D, measures that would allow the state to keep an estimated $3.7 billion over five years to spend on healthcare, road repair and education.
As important as the measures are to the entire state, the stakes for CSU students are even higher. Just this year, student tuition at CSU has increased 15 percent. And Larry Penley, CSU president, said earlier this fall that if C and D fail, student tuition could rise up to 50 percent.
Think about it.
If you think you're cash-strapped now, imagine life if C and D fail.
Scare tactics and fear mongering, some suggest that's what we're doing. Yeah, we've heard it before. Opponents have been quick to accuse the media, educators, economists, legislators, the Republican governor, and the non-partisan Legislative Council staff of blowing out of proportion the state's financial woes.
Essentially, anyone whose logic isn't clouded by a deep and irrational hatred of any form of taxation is engaging in scare tactics.
Opponents ran a campaign on rhetoric-infused generalities without bothering with specifics. We can't let them win.
Just like most of Colorado's hard-working citizens, we believe taxes are a necessary evil.
But they aren't nearly as evil as turning middle and low class kids away from higher education. Or denying senior citizens, the mentally ill and the needy quality medical care. Or eliminating the Offices of Suicide Prevention and Victims Programs. Or the Poison Control Hotline. Or dozens of other services and programs that may have to be canned if C and D fail.
In addition to morally right, C and D are practical.
Just recently, Bill Gates was in Colorado and told an audience the best way to attract businesses into the state is to have an educated population. We think Gates, the richest man in the world, knows a little more about business than Douglas Bruce and the other supposedly pro-business, anti-tax crusaders of the world.
Fellow students, tomorrow is your day to tell the state what kind of a future you want – one rooted in the belief that education is fundamental to the success of a society.
The passage of C and D will not solve all of the state's higher education funding problems, but it will be an extremely powerful step in the climb out of Colorado's growing hole – one that has made the state 48th out of 50 in the amount of money it expends on higher education per share of personal income.
We agree with Gov. Bill Owens, a Republican and strong supporter of TABOR, that C and D are not only reasonable, but also necessary at this time. We hope you do, too.