Gov. John Hickenlooper covered a lot of ground in his second State of the State address on Jan. 12, including an idea that could provide more higher education scholarships.
Hickenlooper cited the concept of privatizing Pinnacol Assurance, the quasi-governmental state insurance company, which could provide millions of dollars for the state government. In 2009, a bill proposed to use $500 million from Pinnacol Assurance to offset more than $300 million in higher education cuts due to a $1 billion budgetary shortfall. The idea was withdrawn in 2009, and resurfaced only to be killed in the 2010 legislature.
But the conversation did not stop there.
“Done properly, and with the support of policy holders, a restructuring of Pinnacol could provide Colorado with a security interest that has the potential of funding economic development and higher education scholarships,” Hickenlooper told members of the General Assembly in his speech.
The governor also echoed the importance of job creation. “The link between higher education and economic development is very clear. They go hand in glove. So if we agree on a new future for Pinnacol, we hope you will also agree that funding for scholarships makes sense,” says Hickenlooper.
The governor thanked state workers for their contributions even though they have not had a raise in four years. In 2010 state employees saw a 2.5 percent increase in their contribution to the retirement fund, PERA.
Hickenlooper hinted that changes to the state retirement system may be coming.
“And while we are not immediately seeking legislative changes to the state's retirement program, we are mindful of the obligation we have to Colorado's taxpayers and state retirees to ensure that PERA is both stable and sustainable,” Hickenlooper says.
Read the full text of his speech here.
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