Recent News Reports on State Revenues, June 12, 2009
You may have seen the report in Friday’s Denver Post that members of the Joint Budget Committee are speculating about the possibility of additional budget cuts to higher education and corrections because of ongoing declines in state tax collections.
As you know, higher-education funding makes up a significant part of the state’s discretionary budget, and we, along with our legislators, worry about any declines in state revenues needed to fund public services in Colorado. But I’d once again caution all of us not to get too worked up about this latest news. The Governor and the Department of Higher Education have taken a very strong position supporting higher education by backfilling significant cuts via the deployment of federal stimulus funds. In taking this approach, the Governor and DHE have plainly and repeatedly articulated that higher education has already taken the maximum reduction allowed within the federal legislation without placing the state’s entire stimulus funding at risk — something no one in state government wants to do.
As we’ve known for some years, Colorado faces serious budget policy challenges, and this latest conundrum is just one more reminder of the need for a more effective, long-term approach to funding our state. This remains our highest long-term administrative priority and we’ll continue to work diligently toward a long-term solution.
In the meantime, CSU System staff will be working closely with legislators and state leaders as they consider various options for the shorter term. We remain hopeful that some of the recent national projections of the recession ending in the fourth quarter of 2009 will be correct and that we’ll start to see evidence of this locally with increased state revenue collections. In any event, we’ve been managing our resources carefully to prepare for the possibility of additional downturns in the state budget, and I think we’re now as well-positioned as we can be to handle whatever unfolds at the state level.
We’ll keep you apprised as the news develops, but in the meantime, have a good weekend and get out and enjoy being in Colorado.
Dr. Anthony A. Frank