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Q and A with Democrat Dan Gibbs, candidate for Senate District 16

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By Vicky Gits

How much money have you raised from donors as of (give date): $100,000 as of 10/09

How much of your own money have you contributed? $0

Who and what organization (if any) are your top contributors in terms of dollars donate? I am proud to say that, along with generous individual contributions I have received from all over my district, I have received financial support from organizations such as the Colorado Professional Firefighters.

What conditions would you require to vote to make a wider I-70 from Floyd Hill to Frisco? I think that working on pinch points along I-70 is a step that makes sense to take now, and that further road work should be examined as part of a multi-modal approach to meeting our transportation needs.

What more should be done to safeguard the Wildland Urban Interface from catastrophic wildfire in the wake of the bark beetle infestation? As a wildland firefighter I realize that funding, like the over five million dollars in funding I secured through the Colorado Forest Health Restoration Act, needs to be directed towards fighting fires on the front end. In other words, making sure we do everything to prevent fires from devastating homes and communities before a fire breaks out.

Do you feel the state is being shortchanged by a lack of money to build transportation infrastructure? Being against toll roads, how would you solve the funding gap? I think that Colorado has some very real funding challenges but I’m also confident that we can come up with solutions to those challenges. The proposed toll road idea legislation wasn’t right for my district and was also illegal, but I think we can develop unique approaches, such as public/private partnerships, to develop a comprehensive transportation funding plan.

Do you think Amendment 50 (Gaming Limits) is a good deal for the state’s taxpayers? I do. I think it helps develop an important part of the district’s economy and does the critical job of ensuring that Colorado higher education gets the funding needed to develop a strong, well-educated workforce.

What is your opinion of the merits of Amendment 58 (Severance Tax)? Would you vote for it and why? (58 would eliminate the property tax credit for oil and gas companies, raise $321 million of which 60 percent would be parceled out in scholarships.) Honestly, I see merit in both sides of this debate. I have been going around the district and listening to what my constituents have to say on the issue and am still considering the matter.

What is the purpose of Amendment 59, ( Savings Account for Education). How would it benefit taxpayers? Does it constitute an end-run around the limits imposed by the Taxpayers Bill of Rights? The purpose of amendment 59 is to ensure that Colorado is able to provide a top quality education for the children of the state, which is vital to ensuring a thriving economy and way of life. It untangles the fiscal knot in Colorado’s constitution which currently mandates state funding to go up and down at the same time. Amendment 59 fixes this problem while keeping the Taxpayers Bill of Rights intact, and does not raise your taxes.