State of Colorado budget includes possible higher education cuts

Sady Swanson

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced his proposed budget plan Monday, which includes $373 million in spending cuts, a 0.4 percent decrease in spending from the previous year.

The spending cuts include a potential $20 million in cuts to higher education, Colorado State University President Tony Frank wrote in an e-mail sent to the CSU community Tuesday.

“For our university, that would translate to an anticipated funding cut of roughly $3.78 million,” Frank wrote.

Frank wrote that CSU’s current draft budget has a $2 million surplus that will provide a “solid basis” for the University to begin looking at the impact these cuts might have on CSU.

“In light of the Governor’s announcement, we’ll be looking at the possibility of deferring some expenses to future years and reducing our costs via a 2 (percent) internal reallocation exercise,” Frank wrote.

Frank wrote that, while the state is showing no signs of capping tuition rate increases for next year, CSU’s plan is to continue with “lower tuition increases,” which include a 5 percent increase for resident undergraduate, 4 percent increase for non-resident undergraduate and a 3 percent increase for resident and non-resident graduate students.

“Of course, this and every aspect of our own CSU budget will be subject to debate as we move through the budget process,” Frank wrote.

Another potential issue that Hickenlooper’s proposed budget poses for CSU is that it does not include a recommended annual salary increase for state classified employees, which include employees of state universities, Frank wrote.

“I am confident that by working with our faculty and staff councils and ASCSU leadership, engaging out elected officials and putting our heads together, we will again find a balance that keeps alive the access to excellence that has always been the promise of Colorado State University,” Frank wrote. “Please engage in the conversations as they unfold, and stay tuned for further developments.”

Hickenlooper’s budget also includes $189 million in tax rebates required by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, according to the State of Colorado website. This would result in rebates to taxpayers ranging from $34 to $108, with an average of $51.

“This proposed budget strikes a balance between the contradictory rules in the Colorado Constitution, funding for essential State programs, and an unclear revenue picture,” Hickenlooper wrote in the release. “We had to make difficult decisions to find this balance that will affect health care providers, students from kindergarten through college, and State workers. We look forward to working with the General Assembly and the Joint Budget Committee on the final plan.”

Collegian Breaking News Editor Sady Swanson can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @sadyswan.