The Colorado Senate Thursday night okayed the state budget with the
$300 million reduction in higher education funding. But it also
approved on first reading two bills that would enable the state to
transfer $500 million from Pinnacol Assurance that would offset that
cut and add additional funds to the state’s reserves.
The Senate must vote once more on the Pinnacol bills before they can
move to the House. As the legislature is closed today for Good
Friday,that vote on the final reading is scheduled for Monday.
The votes came after an unprecedented action by Senate President
Peter Groff that sent the Long Bill back to the Joint Budget Committee
to re-examine alternatives so as to avoid the $300 million reduction.
Groff deemed that deep of cut to higher education “unconscionable.”
However, the JBC resisted any further action and said that any additional changes should be made on the Senate floor.
Even if the legislature and governor ultimately pass one or both of
the Pinnacol bills, there is likely to be a legal battle over whether
the state has the right to take assets from the quasi-governmental
At Wednesday’s Faculty Senate meeting Metro State President Stephen
Jordan reminded faculty that even if the Pinnacol proposal passes, it
would only be one-time funding. “We would have one year to downsize or
come up with a solution [to the ongoing problem],” Jordan said
Also yesterday, senators backed a few additional cuts that would
help lessen the total $300 million hit to higher ed, including reducing
payments to private prisons that house state prisoners and cutting the
state Capitol security budget.
To read more about the funding crisis and submit questions or suggestions, go to www.mscd.edu/president/higheredfunding.
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