.- Colorado’s three Catholic bishops have released a joint statement in support of state Referendums, C&D. The measures would return nearly 5 years worth of surplus revenue to the state government rather than to taxpayers--an act which, they say, would have profound effects for Colorado’s poorest residents.
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, and Bishops, Michael Sheridan and Arthur Tafoya of the Dioceses of Colorado Springs and Pueblo, respectively, are all urging Catholic faithful to vote in support of the referenda next month.
“Churches”, the bishops wrote, “can't build a just society alone. Neither can synagogues or volunteers or charities. We need government to do its rightful job, not cut or hobble its services. We need government to serve the common good with laws that defend the weak, and with the money, personnel and other resources to ensure a life of basic dignity for all our people.”
They recalled that economic circumstances over the last three years had caused the Colorado General Assembly to trim nearly $1 billion dollars from the state budget, most of which “especially impacted the most vulnerable families in Colorado.”
These, the bishops wrote, “included cuts in affordable housing, school food programs, healthcare and mental health services, and financial assistance to the physically disabled.”
Rejection of Referenda C and D, they pointed out, would usher some $500 million in further budget cuts over the next two years--the brunt of which, the they said, would be borne by the “least among us.”
Under the measures, much of the surplus tax revenue would be specifically earmarked for use in health care, K-12 education and the state’s public college and university systems.
While pointing out that “Catholics of good faith can reasonably disagree and seek other methods of easing the state's budget situation,” the bishops asked “all Catholics, and other persons of good will who take their citizenship seriously, to consider supporting Referenda C and D for the sake of our communities and the future of Colorado.”