The Colorado News Agency has an article up today looking at another marker Speaker McNulty has laid down for budget negotiations for next year's legislative session. After stating his intent on restoring the Senior Homestead Exemption, at an American Cancer Society last week McNulty said that he would no longer allow funds set aside for cancer research to be misappropriated for other uses in the General Fund.
The CO News Agency explains how Democrats have been able to steal cancer research dollars for the last couple of years:
"Seven years ago, Colorado voters approved Amendment 35, allowing for the taxation of tobacco products to fund early detection and treatment of cancer, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases; comprehensive primary care; children’s health care, and prevention and cessation programs. A provision of the measure allowed the state to redirect those dollars when a fiscal emergency is declared. In each of the last several years, just such an emergency has been declared amid back-to-back budget woes.
McNulty has said he won't let that happen again, and based on the state's history with "cancer politics" we'd say McNulty has the upper hand in this upcoming budget fight.
In 2008, the Democrats sent a mailer attacking HD 55 candidate Laura Bradford saying that she basically supported cancer. Here's how Bradford explained it to the Colorado Statesman:
“Half a million dollars was spent accusing me of opposing health care,” Bradford said. “The mailers said I was against funding breast-cancer screenings, which is really terrible because I’m a breast-cancer survivor.
The possibility that Democrats would vote to misdirect constitutionally-mandated cancer research dollars means 2012 could see a number of Democrats targeted for their anti-cancer research votes.
It would, of course, be sweet justice for Democrats to get a taste of their own medicine.
We'll have to wait and see how Democrats deal with this budgetary line item, but it certainly is not a winner for legislative liberals. We know already that Democrats are mocking up mailers claiming Republicans "hate children." Based on how the cancer research budget fight goes, Republicans may be able to respond to those ads, claiming Democrats love cancer.
As the saying goes, politics ain't bean bag, folks.
And for Democrats next fall, it may very well feel like chemo-therapy if they don't get back on the right side of this important cancer prevention cause.