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‘Check facts’: Vote ‘yes’ on Prop. II

Barbara McLachlan

We all live in a bubble of information of one kind or another.

We defend our families, believing they can do no wrong. Our bubble of love prevents us from seeing a possible reality.

We believe commercial brands we use or produce are absolutely the best. The people inside our consumer bubble and the advertising outside of it convince us of that.

And our political bubble has everyone inside agreeing with one another. On all sides, information is dispersed and believed, despite its veracity.

I don’t know about your families or brand preferences, but I work in politics and listen – a lot – to people. So what I do know is that every one of us needs to step out our bubble, check the facts and talk to people who don’t agree with us. We can all learn a lot.

As I enter other people’s bubbles of information, I listen carefully. I must. They espouse statements and figures, convincing everyone inside they are facts, and it is only when I get out and check that I may start believing.

Lately, I have been in groups discussing Proposition II on November’s ballot. It allows the state to retain and spend revenue generated by tobacco sales, which went above the estimated amount from Proposition EE, which we voted on in 2020. We as a state agreed the money should go to pre-K education.

I voted in favor of Prop. II. Those who are against it are usually the ones who tell me all life is precious – they want the children born, yet do not want to spend any money taking care of them after birth. The extra $23.65 million will enhance our preschool programs, helping the very people who want to work, who want to contribute to the economy, and who want their children to be safe and educated.

If we vote “no,” the money goes back to cigarette distributors and wholesalers, not toward the children and families who need it.

Another bubble of interest professes that the state has a mysterious fund of $4.6 billion in unrestricted reserves stashed away, which could easily pay for all education wants.

Not true. Our Constitution states we must have a balanced budget. If we promise school districts they will get a specific amount per student every year, we must do that within the confines of the budget. The Education Fund was established to ensure that even in bad times, schools will be funded adequately.

If you had car, house or college payments to make, would you spend all your savings, then renege on your promise to pay? Probably not. Fiscal responsibility means you pay what you promise.

Our nation’s economic bubble is another interesting place to be. Inside, I hear our economy is worse than ever and that we will never get back to pre-pandemic numbers. Not true.

This week, economists reported the economy grew at an annual pace of 4.9%; 13.9 million jobs were added. Interest rates are at 2.4%, pretty close to the Federal Reserve’s target of 2%. The U.S. is outperforming forecasts made before the pandemic concerning where the economy would be right now.

Before the pandemic, we had a 2.5% growth and added 6.4 million jobs. We’re doing better now.

It is on each of us to speak to people who don’t agree with us, and to check our facts from a variety of reliable sources, not just those in our bubble.

Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango, is serving her fourth term representing La Plata, Montezuma, Archuleta and San Juan counties. She has been a journalist and teacher.