Gov. Ritter looks to spread the pain

Say this for Gov. Bill Ritter’s budget-cutting proposal released last Friday. He is attempting to spread the pain equitably, even among some of his pet projects.

Faced with an expected budget shortfall of $604 million in the current budget year that ends June 30, Ritter proposed a three-phase cutting plan. It includes cutting $201 million in departments controlled by Ritter and his Cabinet, moving $290 million out of cash funds and using $134 million of the state’s reserve funds.

Among the projected cuts is $35 million for constructing full-day kindergarten classrooms, which Ritter fought hard to get approved over the past two years.

Ritter also proposed eliminating $20 million from state contributions to public schools, cutting $30 million from higher education and $3.1 million from the children’s health plan.

Ritter also wants to freeze 64 construction projects on top of 12 already frozen, saving $95 million.

The Legislature will have the final say on what to cut, but the governor has offered a sensible plan to begin that process.


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