Short takes on the news
Colorado's compact • Welcome, Colorado, to the small but growing list of states where an unofficial but broad-based group of leaders have come together to support comprehensive and humane immigration reform. The Colorado Compact, rolled out a few days ago by a consortium of political, business, agricultural and community leaders, echoes the principles found in the 2010 Utah Compact. In calling for real reform, it notes that immigration is a federal, not a state issue. It seeks recognition of the market realities that demand guest workers and skilled immigrants. And it deplores any policy that tears families apart. The Colorado Compact takes a step beyond Utah's, in explicitly calling for a path to legal status for those already here without legal status. Leaders in Indiana and Maine have adopted similar statements. Members of Congress who have taken it upon themselves to finally face this issue, including Utah's Sen. Mike Lee, should take these principles to heart as they seek consensus on this important issue.
Health insurance's spiral • More evidence that something other than blind faith in "market-based" approaches to health care reform is needed came the other day. A new report from the Commonwealth Fund made tangible a feeling that most families and business owners already had. The cost of health insurance is spiraling out of control. Between 2003 and 2011, the price of an average family health insurance policy shot up, from $8,349 annually to $13,455 a year. Because incomes did not keep pace, that meant that the cost of health insurance grew from 13.6 percent of the median family income to 18.3 percent. Free-market defenders should admit that such costs are a huge drag on business. The rear-guard action against the federal Affordable Care Act makes less and less sense with every passing day.
To many vacancies • Utah's Charter School Board doesn't want to "punish" charter schools that are taking money from traditional public schools and other charters for students they don't yet have. But charter schools that don't meet enrollment projections within a reasonable time should, at the very least, lose the money allocated to them based on their promised enrollment. More than 5,000 seats that charter schools promised to fill are vacant. Charters are allocated a "weighted pupil unit" of about $2,848 per student and also $1,673 per student in "local replacement funding" to make up for their inability to levy property taxes. If they don't have the students, they should return the money.