An educated idea

Long-term fiscal reform for the state of Colorado won’t be an easy task, especially with a handful of constitutional amendments that limit what lawmakers can do with respect to the state budget.

However, a committee of the Colorado Legislature that has been studying long-term reform this week endorsed an idea that is both sensible and doable.

The committee has given its approval to legislation that would allow more flexibility to state colleges and universities. The bill would allow institutions of higher education in Colorado to enroll more international students. Even more importantly, it would remove some of the strict, complicated annual reporting requirements that colleges and universities now face.

As the Legislature and especially Gov. Bill Ritter have struggled to make necessary cuts in the state budget, higher education has become one of the areas where money can be cut most readily. Just last week, Ritter announced a new round of cuts that included carving $145 million from state funding going to higher education. Those cuts are to be backfilled with federal stimulus money, at least for one year.

The higher-education cuts are unfortunate but understandable during very difficult economic times. But, as colleges and universities are forced to get by with less state money, they should also get some relief from burdensome state reporting requirements.

We’re pleased to see the long-term finance committee recognizes that. We hope the full Legislature will quickly adopt this recommendation when it convenes in January.


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