Designing Your Colorado - March 2005

Denver Women's Commission
Designing Your Colorado - March 2005

Chaer Robert
March 8, 2005


In the next year, we will all answer the question, “ What kind of state do we want to live in?”

I see deep divides in the core values of Colorado. Which values will set policy is, in part, up to you.

Some believe: “Every man for himself. Survival of the fittest”

Others believe: Invest in the common good. Build community. Create one Colorado.

Some believe: The first purpose of government is to promote business.

Others believe: The purpose of government is to promote the general welfare for ourselves and our posterity.

Some believe: Government is the problem.

Others believe: Government can offer solutions.

You have a key role to play in a number of ways:

As a voter & activist- This fall some kind of TABOR reform will be on the ballot. Will it move the State closer to reflecting your values?

Our current budget restrictions have forced cuts in mental health treatment, higher education, Medicaid, substance abuse treatment, school breakfasts, legal services for domestic violence survivors, library services, affordable housing and much more.

As a constituent – We cannot fault our representatives and senators for not representing us if we do not communicate with our own legislators about the bills and issues most important to us.

If you do not know who represents you, call your county clerk’s office or go to , then call, write, email or visit your own representative.

What might you talk to them about? Here are some of the issues they are debating this year:

1. Loosen the budget vice. Reform TABOR.

2. Make permanent the State Earned Income Tax Credit for low wage working families—HB 1232. Since 1999, middle and upper income Coloradans have benefited from a permanent reduction in the income tax rate. But for the last 3 years, 200,000 Colorado working families with income too low benefit from a cut in the income tax rate, have not received a State EITC, because it is only paid when we have a TABOR surplus.

3. Restore presumptive eligibility for pregnant women under Medicaid- HB 1025. An estimated 19,000 women lost earlier prenatal care. The purpose of the presumption of eligibility was to begin prenatal care as early as possible. Especially with the current mess with the State’s new computer program to determine eligibility, someone can wait months before they are notified if they are eligible for Medicaid.

4. Add substance abuse treatment to Medicaid- HB 1015. Colorado is one of three states that excludes payment for substance abuse treatment for those on Medicaid.

5. Reform Unemployment Insurance-. Less than 28% of Colorado women who lose their jobs qualify for Unemployment Insurance because our state has very restrictive eligibility rules. HB 1020 allows more recent entrants into the workforce and seasonal workers to receive their unemployment with less delay.

6. Help women keep a roof over their heads. HB 1169 lets a domestic violence survivor get out of her lease, if she pays one more month’s rent. HB 1061 would prevent people from living on the streets for two months while they await return of a security deposit needed to afford new housing, shortening the period to one month.

You can read any of the bills I mentioned, or get the information online at
By adding your voice and your actions, you can help design what kind of state you live in.

For information about the status of any bill, contact the State bill room: 303-866-3055 or go online to For more information on any of these issues, you can contact Chaer Robert, Director, Denver Women’s Commission, 720-913-8465, or visit