A Golden man’s attempt to cap new growth along the Front Range is one example of why Amendment 71, which makes it harder to change the constitution, is a good idea. Daniel Hayes, who authored a similar measure in Golden years ago, has submitted an initiative for the 2018 ballot. His proposed constitutional amendment would, limit the number of new residences in the seven-county Denver metro area and in El Paso, Larimer and Weld counties to no more than one percent growth per year.
Hayes argues there’s not enough money for transportation, schools and other important programs. He believes controlling growth is the best way to ensure there is money for basic state services, saying “Excessive growth will bankrupt the state,” according to the Denver Business Journal.
There is no doubt Colorado is growing. U.S. Census Bureau statistics indicate our state’s population grew 8.5 percent between 2010 and 2015. However, capping new homes is not the answer to Colorado’s budgetary issues. Even if such a measure passed, it would not ensure the state’s general fund had money for key services like transportation which currently receives a pittance of Colorado revenues.
For example, Medicaid is rapidly becoming one of Colorado’s biggest expenses. Our state expanded Medicaid under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. In 2012 Colorado’s Medicaid spending was $4.7 billion; by 2015 it was $7.3 billion according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The Governor’s 2017-2018 suggested budget increases Medicaid spending, a total funds increase of $373.1 million (4.1 percent), and a General Fund increase of $142.7 million (5.4 percent). On the other hand, the budget cuts transportation spending by $100 million.