Bill Ritter's Last Budget Stand: Employees, Education, and Medical Marijuana

November 3 2010, 3:00 PM

Not all of today's news is elections related, but that doesn't mean it isn't political. Current state Governor Bill Ritter released his final budget plan yesterday, which details that for the third straight year, state employees won't receive raises—but they won't be furloughed either. And state personnel rolls will increase by 115 full-time employees next year—mostly in the realm of criminal justice—notes the Denver Business Journal

The plan, which will be inherited by Governor-elect John Hickenlooper, also carves out a slight increase in state support for schools, reports Ed News Colorado, but not enough to cover the costs of inflation and projected increases in enrollments. 

Overall, the budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year is a balancing act, accessing a variety of cash funds, such as one supplied by fees on medical-marijuana users, writes The Denver Post. Ritter issued the budget with his usual grimness: "Anyone who claims to have a pain-free way to balance the budget is not only wrong but disingenuous." The total budget for the fiscal year is estimated to add nearly $1 billion to the more than $19 billion currently on the rolls.