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BRIGHTON – Judy Solano has some unfinished business at the Capitol, and she’s hoping voters in House District 31 will see fit to return her for a fourth term. Solano, a …
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BRIGHTON – Judy Solano has some unfinished business at the Capitol, and she’s hoping voters in House District 31 will see fit to return her for a fourth term.
Solano, a retired schoolteacher, wants to do something about the state’s position for educational funding. It’s 48th, as of 2009. Solano thinks the effects of the recession may make voters change their minds.
“A lot of voters de-Bruced so they could raise money for particular districts,” Solano said. “They may be seeing the larger class sizes and the cutbacks of teachers affecting families. I sense a different sentiment this year. You just can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip.”
The state may face another $1 billion in cuts for the 2012 fiscal year. Solano said that means everything – including kindergarten through 12th-grade education – “is on the chopping block again.”
“We will have to make some tough choices,” she said. “This recession is the worst I’ve seen. It’s the worst since the Depression. Nothing is sacred. Education is not safe. It breaks my heart to see us cutting teachers. We’re the 48th-ranked state for education funding, and we’re still cutting teachers?”
Solano also wants to continue her work in the area of early childhood education. She called that “the best investment – the best bang for our buck.” She also sees the future of renewable energy as a must for an improved Colorado economy.
“We need to incentivize new businesses,” she said. “The money helps put people in jobs and helps support people who need livable wages.”
However, the state Constitution includes the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, which prevents tax increases without a popular vote, the Gallagher Amendment, which has caused a drop in property tax values, according to coloradobudget.com, and Amendment 23, which requires a set increase in education funding for K-12 (inflation plus at least 1 percent per year for 10 years).
There are three ballot questions in the fall that, if passed, could hamstring the ability of government to provide even the most basic services.
“It would be totally devastating,” Solano said. “It would prevent schools from bonding. It would prevent new schools from being built. No vehicle registration fees would be devastating to the state’s transportation projects. I take a different stand from my opponent. Government has a place. In tough economic times, more people depend on services from the government. It will be harder for them to meet the needs of their constituents.”
Solano and her opponent, Tom Janich, will meet in the November election.
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