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Heath: Trip shouldn’t cost taxpayers

Donna Daniels
Staff Writer

Gov. Bill Owens should reimburse taxpayers for his three-day trip throughout the state, said Democrat Rollie Heath, Owens’ gubernatorial challenger.

“This is clearly a campaign trip,” Heath said. “There’s no reason he shouldn’t campaign, but he shouldn’t take a whole entourage of people and have the state pay for it.”

After all, Owens can afford it, Heat said, citing the incumbent governor’s $5 million campaign fund.

“He’s doing a three-day media blitz under the guise of having an honest conversation about issues. I’ve been in all 64 counties. I don’t think it takes 50 people to have an honest conversation,” Heath said.

Owens stopped in Glenwood Springs Tuesday morning to sign an instream flow water rights bill and hold a short town meeting.

“We’ve got huge issues in the state: budget, health care, water and growth,” Heath said. “The governor is treating the fire issue as some new thing. We’ve been in a drought for three years. Where has he been?”

Owens, whom Heath calls “Mr. Invisible,” “is not somebody who has been interested in hearing from the people before now. He hasn’t done anything that isn’t staged.”

Heath also took Owens to task for his stand on health care.

“Basically, what he wants to do is take away funding for the coverage people need, like catastrophic treatment and preventive care.

“They won’t get their money’s worth” on that kind of policy, Heath said. “We need a comprehensive health care plan in the state. We’ve got to have preventive health care. It saves money downstream.”

Owens’ plan “sounds good but is minimal at best,” he added.

Colorado must also look to its economy. State government is not dealing with the present economic downturn, Heath said.

“We are a fiscally mismanaged state,” he said.

Owens’ current budget has depleted every reserve fund, said Heath.

The reserve funds “must be paid back in July. Then the budget will be in chaos for the next fiscal year. How will he provide meaningful services and build the reserves back?” Heath asked. “I don’t think he can do it, especially if the economy doesn’t heat up in any meaningful way, and I don’t think it’s going to.”


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