Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Gov. Bill Ritter today continued submitting recommendations to the legislature's Joint Budget Committee to close a $1 billion shortfall, with these newest proposals focusing on fiscal year 2009-10, which starts July 1 and ends June 30, 2010. Click here for detailed documents.
The plan calls for reducing or phasing out services and programs, closing or delaying the opening of state prisons and other facilities, eliminating or keeping vacant hundreds of positions, and imposing employee furlough days.
"Three weeks ago in my State of the State Address, I urged lawmakers to set aside partisan differences and called on all Coloradans to work together as we confront one of the worst economic crises in generations," Gov. Ritter said.
"On Jan. 15, my office began submitting a budget-balancing plan to the Joint Budget Committee, and today we are proposing additional steps that include deep, targeted and strategic cuts," Gov. Ritter said. "These reductions, along with the latest unemployment figures released this morning, should leave no doubt in anyone's mind about the seriousness of the problems we face, and of the collective effort it will take to chart a Colorado way forward."
The FY09-10 recommendations submitted to the Joint Budget Committee today include:
·         $1 billion worth of proposals, including $696.2 million in actual General Fund cuts and reductions, and another $126.9 million in reduced obligations, for an overall decline of $823.1 million. The proposals represent a 10 percent General Fund reduction from Gov. Ritter's original Nov. 1 FY09-10 General Fund operating budget request of $8.2 billion to the JBC.
·         A carry-over of many of the items from the FY08-09 balancing plan into FY09-10.
·         An estimated $259 million of anticipated revenue from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help reduce the impact of the budget shortfall on health care services.
Other elements Gov. Ritter's FY09-10 balancing plan:

n      Workforce
o       Keep vacant or eliminate more than 540 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions.
o       Impose five unpaid furlough days on most of the state's workforce, for a $15 million savings (including $7.6 million General Fund), and authorize up to three furlough days in FY08-09 if necessary.
o       Withhold salary increases for 26,000 state employees, saving nearly $63.1 million, including $34.3 million General Fund.
n      Corrections
o       Close the 210-bed Colorado Women's Correctional Facility in Canon City effective May 31, saving $5.2 million, eliminating 71 FTEs and requiring the transfer and double-bunking of inmates at other facilities.
o       Close the 192-bed Rifle Correctional Facility effective May 31 and sell the property and water rights, saving $5.7 million.
o       Sell a department-owned 1,000-acre ranch with water rights in Chafee County, saving $2.7 million.
o       Delay the April 2010 opening of Colorado State Penitentiary II in Canon City until July or August 2010, saving $16.4 million.
o       Delay the opening by one year, to July 2010, the expansion of the Denver Reception Diagnostic Center, saving $2.7 million.
n      Human Services
o       Close the 20-bed general hospital at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo effective Nov. 1, 2009, saving $4.8 million total funds, including $3.1 million General Fund, and eliminating 54 FTEs.
o       Close the 20-bed Therapeutic Child Care Facility at Fort Logan effective July 1, saving $2.1 million total funds, including $417,000 General Fund, and eliminating 30 FTEs.
o       Reduce an earlier request for increased funding for developmental disability services, saving $3.4 million total funds and $1.7 million General Fund.
n      Education
o       Reduce state K-12 funding by $126 million, a 3.8 percent decline from Gov. Ritter's initial FY09-10 budget proposal. Reductions also include:
§         Suspending a 2nd enrollment count for military children ($1.8 million)
§         Reducing charter school capital construction ($2.5 million)
§         Reducing full-day kindergarten expansion ($17.9 million)
o       Reduce state higher education funding by $100 million (this includes the $30 million reduction from FY08-09 and deepens it by another $70 million). This overall reduction returns the state's contribution to higher education to the FY07-08 non-inflation adjusted funding level of about $750 million.
n      Health Care
o       Reduce Medicaid expenditures, provider rates and reimbursement obligations, saving about $150 million total funds, including about $70 million General Fund.
o       Suspend outreach efforts and reduce funding for Children's Basic Health Plan Plus, saving $19.3 million, including $3.1 million General Fund.
n      Other
o       Senior Property Tax Homestead Exemption: Temporarily suspend this tax exemption in FY09-10, FY10-11 and FY11-12, with fiscal year General Fund savings of $91.4 million, $97.6 million, and $103.4 million, respectively. Similar steps were taken in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
o       Colorado Student Before and After School Program: Eliminate funding to this program, saving $300,000.
n      Revenues
o       Gun Background Check Fee: Re-institute a $10 to $15 user fee for the Colorado Bureau of  Investigation's "InstaCheck" background check service, saving $1.6 million General Fund.