Summary of the Colorado State of the State Address
By Stateline Staff
In his final state of the state address after announcing he would not seek re-election this fall, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) called for an end to "$10 solutions to billion-dollar problems" and asked the Legislature for its help in balancing the state's budget, advancing green energy and creating jobs.
"We have a higher responsibility to join together, to overcome our challenges, to turn to what Abraham Lincoln called the 'better angels of our nature,'" Ritter told the Democratic-controlled Legislature Jan. 14. " We're going to have to do things we don't want to do. We're going to have to take a balanced approach."
Ritter said the "new energy economy," while relatively new, is "our beacon to a brighter future." He proposed increasing Colorado's renewable energy standard — currently at 20 percent, not to mention the nation's first such measure — to 30 percent, a move that Ritter said would spark "the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs, draw new capital investments and new companies to our state, and keep Colorado at the epicenter of America's energy revolution. "
"We are pioneers," he said. "So, this session, let's think bigger."
To help reduce state spending, Ritter acknowledged the state needs to look at corrections budgets, an area on which, he added, the state spends more on housing 22,000 inmates than educating its 220,000 college students. "T hat is not a sustainable formula for success," he said.
For education, Ritter proposed an overhaul in the way the state evaluates its students by implementing rigorous, modernized testing. " We will modernize assessments so the tests help our teachers teach, help our students learn, and help our parents engage in their children's education," Ritter said.