Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ritter Will Cut 331 Jobs to Balance Budget

Gov. Bill Ritter has increased the number of state jobs he will cut in order to balance the budget.

The governor's office disclosed the higher number when it released documents relating to its financial plan Monday.

The Ritter administration had announced last week that the job losses would total 266.

Not all of the job reductions involve layoffs, since the governor's office is counting vacant positions that would be left unfilled.

The budget cuts announced by Ritter in order to close a budget deficit in excess of $200 million this fiscal year include:

• $25 million less for state prisons, including about $19 million saved by speeding up parole for eligible inmates and shortening parole supervision periods;

• a 1.5 percent reduction in the reimbursements paid to health care providers, which will save Colorado $8.6 million;

• elimination of 59 beds for mental health patients at a facility in Fort Logan and closure of a 32-bed facility for developmentally disabled patients in Grand Junction, which would save about $2.3 million; and

• reduction of $4.5 million from a program that gives $200 monthly stipends to disabled people awaiting federal Social Security benefits.

The governor's office also announced Monday that it would delay an effort to cut more than $475,000 from a program that allows some state employees to use publicly-owned vehicles as a means of transportation to and from work.