Revised state budget estimates predict less revenue than previously thought — $700 million over the next five years — so cuts are to be expected. But what doesn't make sense at first blush is how that reduction in revenue would translate into a reorganization of projects on the state's budget priority list.
When the revenue picture was rosier, the science building was ranked 18th on the legislature's capital development committee's priority list. But when money got tighter, it dropped to 31st.
Rep. Jim Riesberg, a Greeley Democrat and vice chairman of that committee, said members took into account not only the importance of projects, but how much money they would require in future years, which also could have low revenues.
Moving the project down on the list is classic "gold watching." If you don't know what gold watching is, try this explanation. It is about Bill Ritter gold watching highway funds.
We predicted that the Denver Post would use the hole in the ground to push for higher taxes, and they did. It only took three days:
Of course, the larger issue at work is the current tangle of constitutional spending restrictions that make the state budgetary process a convoluted exercise. This is another example of how worthy projects get shoved aside when revenues are projected to dip and mandated spending rules make a mockery of representational government.
Where is Bill Ritter on this issue? Colorado has a back room governor who simply doesn't lead. He calls for a green economy but that is mostly show or this building would be being built. What he probably thinks we need is another blue ribbon commission to decide what can be done with the hole. Bill Ritter is really good at appointing blue ribbon panels, but not much else.