Governor Bill Ritter highlighted a detailed plan yesterday to cut another $286 million from Colorado's cash-strapped budget, including reductions to higher education and Medicaid providers, coming in the wake of the $1.8 billion budget shortfall the state has faced in the past year. That's according to several news organizations, including The Associated Press, which quotes the governor as calling the fiscal crisis the worst since the Great Depression: "This is a massive correction. It is a new economic reality for all of us." Businesses that feared Ritter might cut tax exemptions and credits were among the few spared, even though Ritter says tax revenues continue to be lower than anticipated, writes the Denver Business Journal. The biggest cut is $145 million to higher-education funding, but the impact to colleges and universities will be avoided this year because American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money will be used to make up for the reduction---an option that won't be available next year. USA Today points out that most states are reliant on the same funds due to lagging tax collections. Among myriad other adjustments, the plan would suspend grants to local energy-conservation and renewable-energy programs; eliminate a tax subsidy to poor counties; and drain $2.5 million from a state prison fund financed by inmate canteen purchases (via The Denver Post).