Monday, February 4, 2008


Gov. Bill Ritter today criticized several areas of President Bush's $3.1 trillion FY 2009 budget proposal, saying it will hurt a number of high-priority efforts in Colorado, from energy assistance for low-income families to transportation to health care.
Energy Assistance Funds
The President's budget proposes a complete elimination of funding for Colorado's Energy Saving Partners Program, which allows the state to provide critical weatherization services to more than 4,000 low-income families around Colorado each year.
"The U.S. Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program helps some of our state and nation's most financially vulnerable families achieve financial independence while improving the comfort, safety and energy efficiency of their homes," Gov. Ritter said.
"If these funds – about $4.4 million a year in Colorado – are eliminated, we will lose an important tool that helps families reduce their monthly energy bills by up to 30 percent. I will be asking our Congressional delegation to reject the President's plan to eliminate this funding."
Transportation Funding
President Bush's budget seeks a $5.7 billion decrease in Federal Highway Administration funding. This would translate to a loss of $85 million to $95 million at a minimum, and $200 million at the high end, for Colorado – a cut of 20 percent to 40 percent in federal support for highway maintenance across our Colorado.
"At a time when we already are seeing declining transportation revenues, rising costs and increasing demand, this proposal is unacceptable," Gov. Ritter said.
Health Care Funding
The President's budget cuts $1.2 billion in nationwide Medicaid spending in FY 2009 and calls for a $14 billion reduction over five years. "These cuts will impact dozens of Colorado hospitals and cost them tens of millions of dollars, undermining our health care safety net and making it more difficult to implement health reform at the state level," Gov. Ritter said. 
Administration on Aging
The President's budget proposal calls for significant cuts to senior-citizen services, including the Administration on Aging and Preventative Health Block Grant. These grants fund Alzheimer's programs that provide care-giving and counseling to family members of adults with Alzheimer's disease through Colorado State University's School ofPsychology. These cuts also would reduce funding to Area Agencies on Aging, which provide health education, flu shots, adult immunizations and other programs to older Coloradans.
Community Service Block Grants
The President's budget proposal calls for eliminating $654 million in nationwide funding for Community Service Block Grants, which pay for services such as child care, education, housing and health care in rural communities.
Anvil Points
The President's budget proposal would direct all dollars over the amount necessary for the Anvil Points/Roan Plateau cleanup into the federal treasury. Colorado is seeking to split those remaining funds – estimated to be $24.7 million – with the federal government.