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October 29, 2009 03:26 AM UTC

Budget Balancing (continued)

  • by: Jim Carpenter

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Evening…I wanted to post about Gov Ritter’s presentation to the JBC today on how to close the newest $271 million gap for the current year.  (Next week, his 2010-2011 budget proposal goes to the JBC.)  This brings the total budget shortfall that’s been filled by the Gov and legislature to $2.1 billion over the last year or so.

This included a $28 million increase just in Medicaid caseload, on top of other increases already accounted for.  (thru FY10-11, Medicaid caseload will see a 45% increase since 07-08…as if we needed another reason for national healthcare reform).

Again, the Gov. sought to do this responsibly, fairly and thoughtfully, within very limited options.  His goal was to keep pain to a minimum, protect the safety net, and preserve key services – demand for which actually is increasing in the recession.  (funny how some think that we can get by with fewer snowplow drivers, teachers, corrections officers, etc.).

The big number in this plan is a $145 million general fund cut to higher ed, which is backfilled 100% by American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) dollars (yet another way President Obama’s policies are helping us thru this economic tumult).  There’s another $45 million in other ARRA dollars, elimination of grants from severance taxes ($37 million) refinancing of COPS and other cuts and adjustments.

The budget for 10-11 gets even more complicated, with less ARRA money, both for Medicaid and for higher ed, since we’re using a portion to backfill cuts this year.

So, the answer?  Short term: more revenue from economic growth.  This month alone, two major new energy economy companies — SunRun and SMA Solar Technology — have announced plans to open their doors and hire over 700 new workers here in Colorado.  Our unemployment rate is at 7% (nearly 3 points lower than the national rate).  There’s a long way to go, but many hopeful signs.  Still, state budget revenues traditionally lag, so even with better economic news, the budget news remains challenging.

Long term:  as a state, we have serious issues to tackle: higher ed funding, safety funding, K-12, TABOR and constitutional contradictions, etc.


15 thoughts on “Budget Balancing (continued)

  1. Very nice stroking of the administration in your post, Jim.  Hopefully that level of ass kissing will help your boss’s girlfriend sail to confirmation in the Senate.

    As for the budget gimicks you all came up with, I must admit you all would make Ken Lay proud.  From reading your post it’s pretty clear all you guys fixate on is more revenue.  Until you go through each department (starting with your own communication office staff) to single out press secretaries, lobbyists, deputy press secretaries, outreach coordinators, advisors, etc. you have no credibility.  I just refuse to believe that higher education needs to continue taking 20, 30 percent cuts while other departments of state government are kept whole and/or rewarded with increased funding.  If members of your cabinet are unable to effectively manage a 5 or 6% cut across the board, they need to be sent the way of the agricultural trespassers.  

    1. Could you be more rude and ill-behaved?  

      Didn’t your momma teach you some manners?  

      Not sure why you have to turn up the vitriol so much…seems like we should encourage folks from the administration, politicians, candidates and the like to post here.  Please challenge them, ask tough questions, but why must you be a dick?

          1. This is at least the sixth time!

            That your post has made sense Libby…are you sure its you or did someone borrow the ‘puter?

            Because I do know of a couple of times you were insulting where it really wasn’t necessary.

            But my beef is with a few others on here where instead of addressing an issue they begin the name calling.  Of course you know right then and there they have lost the argument.

            Okay I’m ready, let the insults fly.  

            1. or which administration does he work for?

              Reread the comment you originally responded to, and then get back to me…

              My point is that we should encourage these folks (Gov’s CoS, candidates and politicians themselves) to post here and being rude when they do seems bad form.  

              We should challenge them and ask tough questions.  

              And yes, I trade barbs with all sorts of posters here, and put lots of snark in my diaries and comments, say the demeaning things about politicians and candidates, but that was not my point here.  


  2. I do believe though I am being spinned. You speak to Economic Development as being the life raft for our state. Well let me demonstrate without spin how Governor Ritter has punched holes in that Raft.

    Vestas – Announces this week they are cutting workers (the jewel of the new energy economy the Gov. poroclaims)

    First Data – Moving to Atlanta – one of the only fortune 100 HQ in the state.

    Sun/Oracle – Closing Broomfield campus – were the hell is the Governor begging them to stay!

    Oil and Gas industry – 70 reduction in drilling. and no new exploration in Colorado. we went from 2nd best to do busniess to dead last in 3 years.

    US Army in Colorado Springs – We lost a Birgade to TX because the Governor craped all over them.

    The thread in all of these is Governor Ritter has been vacent when it comes to Economic Development the last three years and now you tell us this is our life raft!

    Jesus I’m swimming.

    1. (like Mr. Carpenter) and I also think it is appropriate to challenge and confront them.

      The claim about Ritter driving out oil and gas from CO is unadulterated BS, however.  

      Consider the Marcellus shale play, closer to pipelines, closer to market and a massive amount of NatGas–NY state is implementing rules far stronger than Colorado’s and (the industry there claims) they already have stronger rules than CO, in spite of McEncana’s (Scooter for Calgary!) claim that our state’s are the strongest ever anywhere in any time or parallel dimension.  The industry in NY state isn’t leaving in spite of the much stronger rules there–au contraire!  They are, in fact, increasing their efforts–is the NY O&G industry just more stupid than those out here–or are the people in CO that buy this line of reasoning?

      Consider that the NatGas market is as glutted as it ever has been–remember the ‘invisible hand’?  Why would it function to keep increasing supplies–especially when it costs much more to get gas to market from the Piceance than from upstate NY–when supply is already glutted???

      Until these factors are considered, the argument that CO’s rules (which were significantly watered down anyways) have affected the O&G industry is just so much…vented methane.

      1. don’t forget to mention how successful Ritter has been in driving O&G rigs out of:

        Utah (down 70%)

        Oklahoma (-67%)

        Canada (-62%)

        Alaska (-62%)

        Texas (-58%)

        California (-55%)

        New Mexico (-52%)

        Wyoming (-49%)

        Only Pennsylvania (+97%) and Kansas (+20%) have shown any significant increase in rig count over the last year. But these two states account for an increase of a grand total of 33 active rigs.

        Just Louisiana is still down 35 rigs from the peak last year. Across North America, there are still 1,175 rigs that were active at the peak last year that remain inactive as of October 23, 2009 (according to Baker-Hughes Rig Counts).

    2. Vestas is in a very difficult global market for their products.  Their main competition is going to continue to be Chinese manufacturers which are heavily subsidized and working on guaranteed gov’t contracts.

      Would you have wanted Colorado to offer similar subsidies? Or perhaps some big, guaranteed long term contracts?

      If not Colorado, perhaps you would have advocated for the US doing it.

      First Data is making a logical, profitable decision to move the CEO back to Atlanta. Their HQ has only been here for 8 or 10 years anyway- and their expected headcount in Colorado is not expected to change.  What kind of free market intervention would you have wanted from the Governor to try and keep the C-suite here?

      With the amount of Euro-opportunity FD is seeing, we’re lucky they are staying in the US.

      I don’t understand Oracle/Ellison. If you do, you should un-retire and make a fortune.

      And I don’t fully understand the economic or military arguments surrounding Ft Carson’s potential expansion.  I sure don’t know what you think about it.

  3. The idea is to have huge cuts in it which will be invisible until after the 2010 election due to stimulus money?

    I would guess the Regents will make the budget cuts anyway, ostensibly to prepare for the dismal-looking future, but the fact that it’ll make a Democratic governor look bad in an election year will probably help.

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