Environmentalists: TABOR Is Chilling Work On Air, Water Quality

Denver (AP) Colorado environmentalists who've endorsed two
measures on the November first ballot say the state's budget crunch is endangering the state's air and water quality. They also contend that funding for state parks and wildlife protection is in the balance.

A coalition of seven groups is backing Referenda C and D. The two measures would temporarily relax the spending limits in the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights and allow the state to borrow a little more than $2 billion for roads, schools and other projects.

Environmentalists point to a recent federal audit recommending that the state have more staffers in its water quality program. They also note that Colorado is again under federal scrutiny for its air quality, but opponents of relaxing constitutional limits on state spending call such concerns scare tactics to divert attention from the real problem, the legislature's lack of setting fiscal priorities.

Voters are being asked to lift caps on the amount of revenue the state can keep for five years. Any revenue exceeding the caps is refunded to taxpayers.

A recession and TABOR have forced lawmakers to cut an estimated $2 billion from the state budget over the last three years.

Copyright 2005 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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