Finally, a Republican-inspired headline in Colorado I can like! "CU slashes jobs, salaries," The Denver Post screamed Saturday.
The headline was inspired by University of Colorado President Bruce Benson, a Republican. Benson, anticipating like a good businessman should the funding shortfalls CU will face if the state's financial problems with higher education continue, announced budget cuts that will be inevitable once federal stimulus dollars finally get used up.
It's no shame to anticipate the worst of times when a business budgets for its future; and even though public education is a liberal and Democratic cause, the value of having a loyal opposition can be seen in Benson's businesslike attention to CU's money problems.
Now, if Benson holds true to Gov. Bill Ritter's predecessor's philosophy as governor, and maintains as low a tuition for in-state CU students as possible, Benson will have performed well in the footsteps of Bill Owens; and Colorado will be glad to thank both of them for their foresight.
This, perhaps, is the first time I can adequately explain my vote to endorse Bob Beauprez for governor over Bill Ritter way back when I was editor of ColoradoBiz magazine.
I thought then, and still think now, that Beauprez then was more qualified to be governor than Ritter, although I have to admit Gov. Ritter has done as good a job as anyone has a right to expect from a rather unexciting politician since his election.
Benson's budget cuts prove, as Beauprez did back during the 2006 race for chief executive of Colorado, that Republican-inspired frugality can be a good thing, even if Republican anti-tax philosophy is misguided -- no, ... make that insane.
Ritter signed a $17.9 billion budget bill on Friday, and, during the legislative session, did a good job negotiating toward a reasonable way to finance state government during the 2009-2010 fiscal year. "Just as families and businesses all across Colorado are doing, we made some very tough choices," Ritter was quoted by The Post as saying when he signed the legislation.
Making hard decisions is what Benson is doing as well. His actions may have some political side effects and overtones, but they also represent effective leadership in the face of dire circumstances, circumstances Ritter had promised business he would fix during his term.
Colorado higher education deserves a permanent fix of its money problems. So do Colorado college students.
"There's always next year" is no longer a face-saving slogan that can be used by the Denver Broncos or the Denver Nuggets. It seems it will always remain words to be invoked by a state lawmaker.
With the signing of the budget bill, however, next year is already here.
And once again voters may take to the polls to fix public higher education's problems in Colorado before elected officials gather up the gumption to do it themselves.
At least Bruce Benson is looking ahead.
As The Post put it: Benson couldn't "wait and hope everything will turn out OK."
Colorado's elected officials ought to follow his example.