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Higher Ed in the News

Colorado's budget woes continue

February 17, 2009

Colorado's economy is still bad, and the state's budget - which faces a $1 billion shortfall over the next 16 months - won't be much better off even two years from now accroding to the grim assessment lawmakers heard Monday.

Natalie Mullis, chief economist on the legislative staff, told lawmakers that the state lost 35,000 jobs between September and December. Meanwhile, the state is projecting corporate income taxes in the current budget year to plunge 23 percent and capital-gains taxes to dive 26 percent.

Nervously awaiting March forecast

Lawmakers are nervously awaiting a March forecast that could show revenues poised to slip even more.

The state has another $150 million in reserves that could be spent this year, but after that, more cuts would be needed.

The Joint Budget Committee has proposed the state cut $124.8 million from its general fund, the $7.6 billion pot of money that finances most of the operating needs for state government. Some of the spending cuts include changes in policy that would save the state money.

Here's how the proposed cuts break down by department:

Agriculture: $472,744, a 6.1 percent cut.

Corrections: $5.8 million, a 0.9 percent cut.

K-12 education: $65.3 million less, a 2.1 percent cut.

Governor's office: $2.6 million, a 16 percent cut.

Higher education: $30 million, a 3.7 percent cut.

Human services: $17.1 million, a 2.5 percent cut.

Judicial branch: $1.8 million, a 0.5 percent cut.

Law: $790,000, an 8.2 percent cut.

Local Affairs: $425,548, a 3.3 percent cut.

Military Affairs: $168,551, a 2.9 percent cut.

Natural Resources: $1.5 million, a 4.8 percent cut.

Personnel: $594,261, a 9.3 percent cut.

Public Health and Environment: $247,480, a 0.9 percent cut.

Public Safety: $2.6 million less, a 3.2 percent cut.

Regulatory agencies: $112,765, a 7.1 percent cut.

Revenue: $1.4 million, a 1.4 percent cut.

Treasury: $35 million, a 28.7 percent cut.

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Read the full story from the Denver Post.