Is Colorado's Budget Crisis in Great Depression Territory?

June 29 2009, 10:23 AM

The state of Colorado has been struggling for years with budget shortfalls, and in the past two years, it's been particularly bad. The Denver Post determined just how bad in a story yesterday with the headline "Colo. crisis worst since Depression: The state falls deeper into a hole that took the country by surprise, but many others are faring far worse." Lawmakers, after all, have already done the tough work of addressing a $1.4 billion gap. This year, they must make an additional $384 million in cuts, although there are "some silver linings," writes the Post--meaning it might be too early to describe what's happening in the context of the Depression. That's not to disregard the difficult times ahead. Last week, Governor Bill Ritter's office issued a memo telling department heads to cut 10 percent from their 2009-10 budgets and to consider eliminating inefficient programs to save money (via 5280). The Fort Collins Coloradoan is wary of that kind of planning and in an editorial writes, "a better approach would be to match what Coloradans expect from state services with available resources to ensure accountability." Meanwhile, ABC News columnist Michael S. Malone, taking a close look at a seaside town in Oregon, wonders, "Are We Sinking Into a New Great Depression?"