Tue November 1, 2011

Cuts to K-12, Higher Education, Part of Governor’s Proposed 2012 Budget

Governor John Hickenlooper released his 2012 budget today. It includes further cuts to higher education and K-12 schools, although not as deep as in the current budget. It also spares state workers from additional furloughs and does not call for any prison closures.

The Governor’s budget director calls the cuts unfortunate but says there’s simply not enough revenue to cover the budget’s growth. Henry Sobanet says prisons and Medicaid account for about 90% of that growth.

“The weak economy means more people qualify for this program. It’s a federal entitlement, which means if people show up for the program we’re obligated to pay for those bills.”

Sobanet says the budget also proposes a nearly $90 million cut to K-12 schools and an almost 10% cut in higher education funding, half of the cuts would come from financial aid assistance.

“There are only a few places to find money to balance the budget and half of the money goes to higher education and K-12 education.”

In addition to the education cuts – the proposed budget would suspend a property tax break for seniors that costs almost $100 million. It also sets aside a pot of money to promote the economy and the film industry.

Governor Hickenlooper will formally present the budget to the legislature later this month.

Education News Colorado has a further breakdown of the Governor's Budget and what it means for K-12 and higher education funding.