Governor Ritter Crunches Numbers

June 26 2009, 11:01 AM

After Governor Bill Ritter directed Colorado's governmental department heads to cut money wherever they can to address the $384 million budget shortfall, House Speaker Terrance Carroll fretted yesterday: "We've cut to the bone. What we're talking about is cutting into the bone marrow." Ritter's budget director issued a memo telling department heads to cut 10 percent from their 2009-10 budgets, the fiscal year that begins just days from now, on July 1, notes The Denver Post. Cuts should focus on "eliminating the least efficient and effective programs, rather than continuing to shave resources from existing programs." And in a press conference, Ritter admitted that state employees could lose jobs or be forced to take additional days of unpaid leave. House Minority Leader Mike May, a Republican, called Ritter's actions "a good first step" toward addressing the state's multi-year budget crisis, but Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, a Republican who is considering a campaign for governor in 2010, accused Ritter of "putting off making tough decisions" for political reasons, according to Fox31. The state won't eliminate sales-tax exemptions, writes the Denver Business Journal, of the state's money problems. Ritter says he will have a final budget put together later this summer, according to The Pueblo Chieftain.