As the Boulder Daily Camera reports:
College students – and a youthful political group in their corner – are fuming over an oil lobbyist’s remark that a proposed scholarship fund would amount to “weekend beer money.”
Amendment 58, which has become the costliest campaign issue in the state’s history, would eliminate a tax credit for the oil and gas industry, directing the money raised to a college scholarship fund for Colorado students.
Rick Reiter, an official with Coloradans for a Stable Economy, made the now-controversial comment that appeared in Saturday’s Rocky Mountain News. The campaign fighting the amendment has raised $10 million from oil and gas companies and says that the scholarship fund is a faulty solution for fixing higher education’s funding dilemma…
Shad Murib, a New Era Colorado employee and senior studying political science at the University of Colorado, said the comment came across with an elitist tone and lumped students as “drunkards off on vacation for four years.”
“Six thousand dollars may be a weekend worth of beer for an oil lobbyist, but for me and other students around Colorado it’s the difference between going to college or not,” Murib said.
Amendment 58 proponents, including Gov. Bill Ritter, say that scrapping what they describe as an outdated tax credit would generate an extra $320 million, with 60 percent going toward scholarships. Financial aid packages could triple, they say, with students receiving up to $6,000 a year.
New Era Colorado on Tuesday also called on the oil lobby to pull advertisements that they say refer to Colorado students as “special interests.”
Our view: the oil and gas industry opponents of Amendment 58 were on a roll until this idiotic statement, with a deafening multimillion-dollar ad campaign railing against Governor Ritter and their catchy “a tax increase is a tax increase” slogan.
By demeaning college students in this way, the opponents done more than make themselves look like high-handed assholes: they have unwittingly reminded voters who the beneficiaries of Amendment 58 really are–their kids, themselves. And an additional $6,000 would be considerably more helpful to students than “weekend beer money,” especially in a state that ranks 49th in the nation for higher education funding.
If 58’s proponents are smart, they’ll remind Colorado voters of this insult to their intelligence every day until the election.