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During the late 1990s, Colorado's Taxpayer's Bill of Rights was praised widely for its effectiveness in restraining the growth of government and providing tax relief for the residents of the state. TABOR capped government revenue growth at population plus inflation and mandated immediate rebates of surplus revenues.
Now TABOR is under attack by interest groups that want to increase government taxation faster than the cap will allow. They blame TABOR for the pressure the state budget has faced over the last four years. Yet that pressure is a direct result not of TABOR but of a recession, a drought, and a misguided educational-spending mandate that forced government to spend more money than it collected.
Opponents of TABOR have endorsed Referendum C as a much-needed fix to TABOR. However, far from simply tinkering with TABOR, Referendum C puts government growth in overdrive. The referendum would in effect give Colorado state government a blank check for the next five years. It would also permanently change the way the TABOR cap is calculated and lock in for perpetuity more government spending.
This paper sets the record straight on what really caused the budget problems in Colorado and what passage of Referendum C would mean to fiscal control in that state.
Political Economy Research Institute;
In the spring of 2001, a diverse group of Americans gathered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for a three-day environmental conference. These men and women, mostly from low-income neighborhoods and communities of color, traveled from urban housing projects and suburban neighborhoods -- from the bayous of Louisiana, the coalfields of West Virginia, and the deserts of Southern California. They came from abandoned mining towns in Idaho, agrarian regions of the South, and traditional Native American villages in New Mexico. Sadly, many of these Americans were coming to Baton Rouge as witnesses to report stories of corrupt governmental officials trading their communities' rights to clean air, water, and land for corporate payoffs and political favors. The Baton Rouge conference was organized for two reasons. One was to unite these heroines and heroes of modern America -- those who are working to free future generations from the environmental degradation that has cast shadows on their lives. The other was to introduce a new tool into their strategic plans for restoration and prevention -- a concept that could help them reclaim their democratic right to a clean environment and enable them to build economically sustainable and environmentally friendly community infrastructures. This new tool is the natural assets movement, a radical notion that seeks to simultaneously reduce poverty and protect the environment. This new movement is predicated on the notion that poor communities and communities of color have wrongly been blamed for the environmental degradation plaguing their urban or rural settings. Rather than viewing the environment through a human vs. nature lens, natural-asset-buiding strategies regard the problem as human vs. human, and in many cases, as wealthy humans vs. poor humans. Since the rise of industrialization, government officials and corporations have often viewed economically poor communities and communities of color as politically and economically weak and therefore easy prey. For three decades, the environmental justice movement has argued that the disproportionate siting of hazards in communities of color and poor neighborhoods reflects a cold-hearted calculation based on the unlikelihood of effective resistance by residents. Through the lens of natural-assets-building, the potential strength of resistance a community can offer may be measured by the level of assets, or capital, it can use in its defense. Communities with less economic or political power are learning how to strengthen their "social capital" -- their bonds with each other and bridges to others -- by organizing effective strategies in large numbers.
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Colorado;
Using a sample of 1,483 gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender identified participants at various GLBT-related social and political events, this study describes the media usage patterns and examines differences that emerge in those patterns based on sexual identity, identification as a smoker, and health change behavior.
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Colorado;
The increased risk for suicidal ideation and attempts among sexual minority youth has been documented in studies using both convenience samples and representative community samples. However, as most youth do not access social services, these studies do not necessarily represent the sexual minority youth that community-based social workers may encounter in their day-today practice. As such, the present study on risk and protective factors related to suicidality surveyed 182 sexual minority youth (ages 14-21) who sought assistance at a community-based social service agency in Denver, CO. Similar to existing literature, the findings suggest that risk factors related to suicidality include hopelessness, methamphetamine use, homelessness, and inschool victimization. However, unlike studies of the general youth population, this study found that African American and male sexual minority youth were not at lower risk of suicidality than sexual minority youth who were, respectively, white or female. Additionally, our findings suggest that the presence of gay-straight alliances in schools may function as a protective resource for sexual minority youth. Implications for social work practice are discussed.
National Council on Crime and Delinquency;
This report presents the findings of the national evaluation of Community Assessment
Centers (CAC) sponsored by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). The report was prepared by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) for the years 1997 through mid-year 1999. The evaluation covers four sites, two planning and two implementation/enhancement sites. The full report describes and assesses program implementation and preliminary outcomes and provides detailed site-specific reports.
This report is the last in a series funded by The Wallace Foundation and developed by P/PV and The Finance Project to document the costs of out-of-school-time (OST) programs and the city-level systems that support them. The report examines the development of OST systems in six cities across the country and summarizes the strategies and activities commonly pursued, their associated investments and options for financing such system-building efforts. These findings can provide OST stakeholders with critical information to help guide their investments in system planning, start-up and ongoing operations.
The report serves as a companion to two previous resources: The Cost of Quality Out-of-School-Time Programs, which provides information on both the average out-of-pocket expenditures and the average full cost of a wide range of quality OST programs; and an online cost calculator that enables users to generate tailored cost estimates for many different types of OST programs.
The Bridges to Work demonstration was designed to test whether efforts to help inner-city job seekers overcome barriers to accessing suburban jobs would result in better employment opportunities and earnings for these workers. This report examines outcomes for more than 1,800 applicants to Bridges to Work, half of whom were randomly selected to receive the programs transportation, job placement and supportive services for up to 18 months and half who were not offered these services. The researchers found that Bridges to Work did not positively impact participants employment and earnings, results that were consistent across cities and across various strategies for providing transportation services. Given the programs implementation challenges, costs and lack of results, the report concludes that the Bridges model is not a viable policy response to the mismatch between the location of jobs and the location of unemployed workers. However, the models lack of success does not diminish the importance of improving transportation options to increase workers access to employment, and the authors derive a number of important lessons from the demonstrations experience to inform future mobility efforts.
Colorado Trust, The;
This Issue Brief, authored by Charles Bruner, PhD, Executive Director of the Child and Family Policy Center, highlights how the health system can help to improve children's healthy development and school readiness, and how policies can help ensure that young children receive preventive and developmental health care.
Center for Neighborhood Technology;
This report examines the impacts of transportation spending on households in the 28 metro areas for which the federal government collects expenditure data and of rising gas prices on both households and regional economies. It finds that households in regions that have invested in public transportation reap financial benefits from having access to affordable mobility options, even as gas prices rise, and that regions with public transit are losing less per household from the increase in gas prices than those without transit options.
While many low-income, inner-city job seekers are isolated from economic opportunities in the suburbs, transportation alone is unlikely to improve their employment prospects, according to the authors of this report. Based on the lessons of P/PV's $17 million five-city Bridges to Work demonstration, the report indicates that while transportation was certainly critical, much of the sites' success depended more on their ability to recruit, prepare and support job seekers, the essential components of any workforce development program.
States of Change documents efforts by state policymakers and local practitioners to devise useful approaches to helping low-income job seekers stay employed and begin advancing. It draws, in part, from our experiences working on these issues since 1997 with five states -- Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Oklahoma and Florida -- as well as on examples and lessons in several other states. In general, states are trying a number of retention strategies, but few have been tested. Therefore, we expect that many strategies discussed will soon be modified or replaced with new approaches. We hope that States of Change encourages this process of testing and innovation by providing a sense of what is being tried and learned around the country, and what challenges remain.
In the mid-1990s, P/PV launched the Bridges to Work demonstration to test the idea that improved access to suburban jobs might benefit low-income urban residents. The project sought to measure the impact of reverse-commuting initiatives in five major cities: Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Milwaukee and St. Louis. While the project was carefully planned, program staff still faced numerous unforeseen events that required program directors to adapt the design to meet local needs, impediments, and opportunities, while maintaining the quality of the original design. In the Drivers Seat examines the experiences of five project directors and their ability to address the challenges that arose, including discrimination in the workplace, ethical issues with random assignment, and difficulties in recruitment and placement.