"When they allow a talk show host to play them like a two-dollar banjo, they demonstrate what kind of backbone they'll bring to the job later on, if we elect them. After they get elected will they continue to allow Jeff Crank to put a nickel in them and wind them up every Saturday morning?"

Barry Noreen, former columnist, Colorado Springs Gazette

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ritter’s Budget Debacle

August 25, 2009

by Lone Front Ranger


American families are tightening their belts, and making tough decisions.  Vacations are being postponed to a more abundant year; decisions to go without cable, eating out, and sports for the kids are being made.  I would assume that when our State Government is experiencing a $320 million budget shortfall, Governor Ritter would show leadership and  make the same tough decisions.  He would make decisions to cut the “extras” and scale back to the bare essentials, the true legitimate functions of government.

If you want to look at what we spend in Colorado and what we spend it on, take a look at Senate Bill 09-259, also known as the “Long Bill”.  This is a product of the Joint Budget Committee, approved by the legislature and details essentially what we will spend as a state.  The Long Bill can be found here:

http://www.leg.state.co.us/CLICS/CLICS2009A/csl.nsf/lbcontainer/SB09-259?OpenDocument

In fairness to the Governor, I can’t tell completely from the information released what specific programs were cut.  Here is a summary from a KKTV article:

http://www.kktv.com/home/headlines/53574837.html

So there may be something in the Long Bill that actually was cut, but wasn’t fully enough spelled out for me to connect it.  Nonetheless, an even cursory look at the Long Bill makes you wonder if the Governor knows what a truly legitimate function of State Government is.

In the Long Bill, in the Agency folder for titled “Governor” there is a section for Economic Development Programs.  Full disclosure of my opinion:  I think that the ways in which a State should participate in Economic Development Programs is to look for ways to reduce taxes and regulations, and any other manner of getting out of the way of businesses producing what they produce.  I don’t buy into the notion that government can help businesses.  It has never happened.

In the Economic Development section are two interesting entries.  One is $15 million for “Colorado Promotion – Other Costs”.  The second is $1.9 million for “Council on the Arts”.  Really?  Are these “extras” or bare essentials?  Governor Ritter is gutting more critical health, safety and education programs (just take a look at the Human Services cuts in the KKTV article), but keeping these seemingly non-critical expenses. 

And this is one section of one Agency.  It will make your blood boil to look through these categories.

Maybe I don’t know all the details, but I know that if average Colorado citizens, who are cutting back on all sorts of household expenses to make it though these tough economic times, were on a panel to decide what was being kept and what was being cut, the “Council on the Arts” would not have been spared.

 

 

 

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