Friday, July 31, 2009

Telephone Snafu costs Colorado Taxpayers nearly $8M

As a member of the Colorado Legislature for nearly nine years, and a member of the state's Legislative Audit Committee of four years, I am aghast at the waste of taxpayer dollars I see in virtually every area of government. I have called for an Audit of this particular program of offering welfare recipients assistance in payment of phone bills. IT IS NOT A FUNCTION OF GOVERNMENT to take taxpayer money and pay for phone service for welfare recipients. Please read my Press Release Also read related article in Denver Post.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Schultheis Suggests Areas for Budget Cuts

The apparent lack of urgency being given by the Governor’s office in finding budget cuts to counter the expected 2009-2010 fiscal budget shortfall of approximately $386 million seems unconscionable. In fact there are some of us who believe the shortfall could approaching $500 million, by the September estimates.

Instead of calling a Special Session for this August or September, Governor Ritter is planning to delay creating necessary legislation until the 2010 Legislature meets. This means that the legislature will have less than five months to deal with this huge deficit; the result will be cuts that are effectively double the shortfall amount. This again illustrates what some would call the Obamenomics philosophy of “hope for change” which we legislators have become all too used to with this Administration.

Some proposed cuts that I would recommend are as follows:

  1. Freeze all advertising by government agencies
  2. Freeze all agency promotional advertising
  3. Freeze all future salary increases
  4. Reduce the average state salaries by at least $101 million consistent with the report submitted to the State Audit Committee at its June meeting, which showed the average state employee’s salary exceeding that of a similar job within the private sector by 6%. (State government salaries should never be greater than those of the private sector.)
  5. K-12 Education: Eliminate all pre-school programs
  6. K-12 Education: Eliminate funding any advertising dollars by Public Schools
  7. Education: Higher: Allow Universities to set tuition levels (this will promote more cost-consciousness by University officials)
  8. Medicaid: Reduce program eligibility on all programs to 100% of Federal Poverty Level (FPL)
  9. Medicaid: Eliminate all efforts to increase the numbers of Medicaid recipients, including through advertising
  10. Medicaid: End all efforts to enroll still more uninsured in the Medicaid program or on welfare rolls. Runaway Medicaid programs must be reigned in.
  11. Medicaid: Require larger co-payments for each office call.
  12. Medicaid: Eliminate all or a number of the ten Medicaid-optional programs
  13. Appeal to all religious and private charitable organizations throughout the state to help meet the growing physical, mental and financial needs within their communities. In this vein, develop a state referral program to such organizations willing to be involved.
  14. Direct the State Patrol to get far tougher on identification of illegal aliens, since approximately $1.2 billion/yr of costs related to illegal immigration are passed on to citizens via government programs. In addition, order all government agencies to toughen their standards for screening individuals as to their legal residency status prior providing any benefits.
  15. Cease all employee furlough programs. Instead, offset these “savings” with permanent cuts in equivalent numbers of FTE.
  16. Cease consideration of ANY new “revenue enhancements” such as raising entrance fees for parks, etc. Citizens are becoming increasingly angry at government constantly demanding more and more of their hard-earned wages. Citizens should not be asked to bear the burden of government growth in times like this.
  17. Cease Colorado's portion ($6.50/mo) of telephone subsidies for welfare recipients. This is NOT a function of government. It is not a right.
  18. Cut funding for all programs and outreach efforts favoring minority groups over at the expense of the average taxpayer. Specifically, eliminate the Minority Business Office within the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT). An agency that specifically deals with minorities and women is discriminatory on its face…and its actions. The time has well passed for the Governor’s office to end reverse discrimination and its “plantation mentality” when administering its programs. Such discrimination increases rather than reduces government dependence.
  19. Identify and target each and every government program that increases individual dependency on government
  20. Require that each state agency analyze its functions and determine which can be contracted out to private industry with a resulting decrease in state full-time employees
  21. Eliminate or severely reduce state support of State Fair
  22. Sell all remaining projected cash flow from the Tobacco Settlement Fund.
  23. Arrange to eliminate state control of Unclaimed Property Fund and sell the liability for management of that with restrictions to a private firm.

It is time Governor Ritter’s administration faces this shortfall head-on; the sooner the better.