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Bill Ritter Budget Cuts: Oil And Gas Communities Concerned About Severance Tax Grants Being Withheld

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Colorado communities that rely heavily on oil and natural gas drilling are voicing concern over one segment of Governor Ritter's budget cuts that haven't been receiving as much attention. Oil and gas communities are concerned they may never see $37 Million in grants funded by severance taxes on energy production that help them cope with the effects of drilling operations. The grants are supposed to be postponed until the 2010-2011 fiscal year under the Governor's budget-balancing plan, which was announced Wednesday.

From the AP:

Colorado communities impacted by oil and gas production say they're worried they will never see $37.4 million in severance tax grant funds being withheld by Gov. Bill Ritter.

Ritter said Wednesday he planned to hold onto to money in case it's needed to balance the state budget.

The move is part of a broader set of measures designed to deal with a worsening state budget picture that will force the state to cover a revenue shortfall this year of $589 million.

The grants being held back come from taxes on energy production and are designed to help communities pay for additional services needed by oil and gas industry workers.

Reeves Brown of the Western Slope advocacy group Club 20 told the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel that he "would really be surprised if the state somehow between now and June came up with another $37 million that they can replenish that with."

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