My approach to the budget issue is long term sustainability. Too many things we do now only benefit a few, are short-sighted or a combination of both.
First is the tax code -- the tax code that benefits the wealthy. We need to be realistic that increasing
taxes on the revenue side is necessary. This means increasing taxes on those who can most afford it, and from corporations who have benefited
from current energy and military policy. Since I don't use euphemisms here, I mean eliminating tax breaks, subsidies, and corporate welfare, as well as adjustments to the rates for income levels.
Our education must be top-notch in Colorado. Our K-12 public schools need to be teaching the engineers, and scientists of the future. Our public schools and rural colleges needs to stay well-funded, and probably increase. We do not need to keep increasing funding to our large state universities, as they already have the tools. If anything, our state universities need to scale back athletic departments and focus on education.
To have successful education, we need healthy children. We must have a caring attitude that all people in Colorado deserve health, and deserve a sustainable health care system. Our health care costs are rising, due to the unsustainable economic model of a for-profit health care industry. We need a new approach such as cooperatives and single payer models.
Our corrections system is based on an antiquated, revenge-based punitive model. We need to recognise that most (not all) people in our prisons and jails have a potential to be good citizens. As a primary 'supplier' to the correction department, we need to stop the drug war, and start thinking about the roots of drug abuse and the side effects - mental health. Again, I emphasise that there are truly bad people that unfortunately need to be kept from society, and this is a small percentage of the prison population. Our direct prison money should focus there, and have a mental health system that addresses crime.
Finally, we need an honest conversation about growth. Every problem we face now has its roots in population growth. We need to have a discussion about whether we need new housing developments or fix the ones we have. We need to have honest discussions about how we treat the environment, how to live in a sustainable world, instead of a depletion model.
I agree with just about all you have articulated, here.