The International Business Times has turned a serious eye toward the U.S. Senate race in Colorado, noting that the attention of voters is focused squarely on the economy and the nation’s ongoing financial difficulties. And while the candidates both have plans to improve the economy, the realities are hard to ignore.

State funding for the University of Colorado, for instance, is expected to drop to a mere $80 million in the coming fiscal year, representing a 54 percent cut, writes Boulder’s Daily Camera. At a town hall meeting in Old Main Wednesday, CU President Bruce Benson warned that despite austerity measures and efforts to tighten belts, “we have to be ready for some more cuts.”

In Aurora, where the city faces a $7 million budget deficit and at least one furlough day for workers, 13 new police officers will be added, even though the city can hardly pay for the additional $1.1 million in salaries, reports Face the State. But Aurora has no choice. A 1993 law passed by voters requires the city to have two police officers for every 1,000 residents. So cuts will have to come from elsewhere in the budget, unless the economy suddenly turns around, which isn’t impossible.

Colorado’s economy, as well as the economies of six surrounding states, is growing, but the expansion has been “moderate” and “uneven,” writes the Federal Reserve in its latest “Beige Book” survey of regional executives (via the Denver Business Journal). Still, “creative class” pusher Richard Florida thinks economic growth will result locally from Colorado being the fifth most innovative state in the country, according to The Daily Beast.