Governor Bill Ritter released his $19.1 billion budget proposal for the 2011-2012 fiscal year on Tuesday, his last as Colorado governor. Ritter was forced to cover a $715 million deficit largely resulting from loss of Recovery Act Funds.
"While our economy is stabilizing, increases in Medicaid, children's healthcare, student enrollment and other non-discretionary caseloads continue to outstrip revenues," the Governor said in a statement.
The proposal actually increases funding for K-12 education by $43 million, although that falls well short of the necessary increase to cover enrollment increases and inflation. Colleges and universities will face a loss of $89 million thanks to the expiration of federal Recovery Act funding.
"We are doing all we can to protect essential services such as public safety, K-12 education, higher education and transportation," the Governor said. "We have made tough, unenviable and unpopular choices in order to keep our budget balanced.
Under the proposed budget, state workers will not see pay increases for the third year in a row, although there will be no furlough days.
Ritter's budget also calls to increase state park fees and transfer $10 million from the Medical Marijuana Fund to the general fund.
READ GOVERNOR RITTER"S REPORT:November 1 Budget Request FY 2011-12 Final