A recent revision by Gov. Bill Ritter to the current budget is resulting in $5.5 million less for higher education in the state, including a $1.5 million cut to funding for the University of Colorado.
The cut will be backfilled by federal stimulus funding — money that won't be available in 2011. It's the latest addition to the "cliff effect" that threatens the budget of the university and other higher education institutions after the next fiscal year.
Another threat looming on the horizon: opposition to Gov. Ritter's proposal to repeal tax exemptions for such consumer goods as candy and soda pop. If the entire package of bills were to pass, it could result in $130 million in revenue for the state next year.
While proponents of education have generally praised the legislation, noting that it's time for business to share some of the burden of widespread economic woes, opponents of the plan have rallied. Grocery stores and beverage makers and distributors, among others, are fighting the action.
Should the bills be defeated and their intended revenue stream not materialize, K-12 and higher education remain vulnerable targets for further budget reductions.
The bills are being heard in committees today and Thursday, Feb. 4.