The Honorable Scott Gessler Colorado Secretary of State 1700 Broadway, Suite 200 Denver, Colorado 80290
Dear Secretary Gessler:
I am writing to comment on proposed Campaign Finance Regulation 1.12, which would establish a 30% spending threshold to determine whether a group qualifies as an "issue committee." This change would make financing of ballot measures in Colorado much less transparent and would treat groups differently based solely on the size of their total budgets, not the level of involvement on any specific issue.
In order to meet the challenges of the 21st century, American higher education must redesign itself through a fundamental transformation in policy, practice and financing. But in doing so, it can neither expect nor rely upon a restoration of past approaches or public support. That was the central message delivered by Patrick M. Callan, president of the Higher Education Policy Institute and the featured speaker at the Bell Policy Center's "Voices of Opportunity" program on Dec. 7.
Suppose there is a river with a strong current that washes people downstream if they fall into it. Upstream is an old bridge with broken railings. You could spend a lot of time and effort pulling everyone who falls into the river to shore. Or you could fix the railings so that fewer people fall into the river in the first place.
At the most recent meeting of the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, the Bell Policy Center voiced strong concerns about Gov. John Hickenlooper's proposed $30 million in cuts to the state's need-based and work-study financial aid programs in his FY 2012-13 budget request. Such cuts could reduce post-secondary educational opportunity for many low- and middle-income Coloradans.
On a cold, snowy day in Denver, we're glad to see attention focused on the "hot topics" of escalating college costs and student loan debt. We've long pointed out that the rising costs of post-secondary education and the amount of debt incurred by many students represent daunting obstacles to opportunity for low- and middle-income Coloradans.
Two annual reports released by the College Board – and a plan by President Obama unveiled during his speech in Denver – address these important issues.
With Fall comes a noisy, busy season for organizations such as ours – a time that bears witness to our successes and the challenges before all of us. I ask, can you imagine Colorado without the Bell Policy Center?