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Q&A with HD25 candidate Cheri Gerou

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By Vicky Gits

How much money have you raised from donors?

As of Sept. 4, $49,507.00

How much from your own resources?

$45,000

What should be the role of state government?

I believe the state government should:

• protect the rights of the individual, including the education of our children to give our kids the tools to succeed in a global economy; protect the rights of the free enterprise system to keep Colorado friendly to business and job growth;

• reduce government to the lowest practical level and reduce bureaucratic red tape;

• endorse and practice fiscal responsiblity, including keeping taxes and fees in check.

What is your position on the immigration issue?

The federal government has failed to protect our borders. I believe Colorado should enforce our existing immigration laws for the protection and benefit of the people of Colorado.

What is the highest priority transportation need and how should the state be addressing it?

The number one priority is reducing congestion on I-70 and Highway 285. We need to find a secure, dedicated source of funding to maintain and expand existing transportation infrastructure.

What is the role of mass transportation in the future of the state?

Rail and any other viable long-term alternative must be on the table. Priority should be given to long-term and environmentally sustainable solutions.

What should be the role of the state in managing water resources for the future?

Rivers and flows are like open space — it can be used or put in a conservation easement.

While only the state can own in-stream flow rights, I believe we should encourage private water donors to our state or to Colorado water trusts. This can be more fully accomplished through tax credits or tax incentives.

What is your opinion on the merits, if any, of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights?

Although the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights is not perfect, it has kept the growth of government in check. If there is one truth in politics, it is this: Politicians will spend whatever money they have access to, and TABOR reins in this tendency. I think we should always be open to improving the way TABOR is implemented, but I would not support efforts to give the legislature a blank check to unlimited taxing authority.

How do you feel about Gov. Ritter's plan to take oil and gas tax money and pay for college scholarships? (Amendment 58)

It is clear that the state has inadequately funded higher education; however, increasing energy taxes at a time when home heating costs and gas prices are skyrocketing is a recipe for economic hardship. There can be no question that this tax increase will hit our families in the pocketbook. Increasing energy costs makes no sense in the current economy; this is the wrong time.

Does the state need to raise taxes to give more to higher education or education in general?

As the Rocky Mountain News pointed out when it opposed Amendment 58, we need to increase funding for K-12 and higher education; however, the first place we should start is by eliminating wasteful administrative spending and redirect those dollars into the classroom. We need to reduce the number of administrators and increase teacher pay. Until government spends its money more wisely, it’s not fair to ask people to open their wallets wider, especially in a down economy.

What is Amendment 59 and how will it cost the public if it is passed?

At its core, Amendment 59 would repeal revenue and expenditure limits that have contained the growth of state spending since 1992. It gives the legislature the ability to keep and spend more taxpayer dollars. While I agree with the assertion that we need to spend more on education, I cannot justify asking taxpayers to give state programs more money when the legislature continues to pass record-shattering budgets. Families and small businesses are tightening their belts. Until the state legislature is willing to eliminate wasteful spending, it should not be asking hard-working families to dig deeper in their wallets.