Colorado Lawmakers May Be Using Surplus Money for State Budget

April 10 2009, 9:33 AM
Working into the night at the state Capitol, Colorado senators approved a new budget that will offset $300 million in cuts to higher education by controversially taking $500 million in "surplus" money from Pinnacol Assurance, a quasi-state entity that provides worker's compensation insurance (via 9News). Republicans, who pointed out that Pinnacol is funded by insurance premiums paid by businesses, compared the move to a socialist takeover of a private company, writes The Denver Post, which notes that some Democrats are also concerned about whether taking the assets is smart or fair. Pinnacol is likely to challenge the move in a lawsuit, leading some experts to predict the money will be tied up in court so long that it will not help the state address its budget woes, leaving higher education on the chopping block yet again.  Many business groups, including the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, oppose the plan, according to the Denver Business Journal. A final Senate vote is expected Monday, according to News 5/30 in Colorado Springs. Meanwhile, faculty at Colorado State University has been asked by the administration to keep an eye out for economically distressed students after a student committed suicide on Monday night, the Fort Collins Coloradoan reports.