Monthly Archives: June 2008

GOV. RITTER NAMES NEW P-20 COUNCIL CO-CHAIR


 

Gov. Bill Ritter announced today that he has named United Launch Alliance President and CEO Michael Gass to serve as a co-chair of the Governor’s P-20 Education Coordinating Council.

 

Gass replaces Bruce Benson, who stepped down as one of three co-chairs earlier this year to become president of the University of Colorado.

 

“As we continue to reform the way we teach and test Colorado students from pre-school to grad school, it’s vital that business leaders like Michael Gass help guide the way,” Gov. Ritter said. “His expertise and knowledge will be valuable additions to the P-20 Council’s mission, which is to provide Colorado businesses with the best-educated workforce for the 21st century.”

 

“On behalf of the 1,600 employees of United Launch Alliance in Colorado, I am honored to co-chair the Governor’s education council,” Gass said. “ULA is committed to improving the educational system in our home state and increasing opportunities for all students. Our participation in the P-20 effort will help provide a business sector perspective as ULA continues on its path to inspiring the next generation of rocket engineers and scientists.”

 

Before joining ULA, Gass served as vice president and general manager of space transportation for Lockheed Martin, overseeing the Atlas, Titan and other space launch projects. He also served in a number of management positions with General Dynamics for 14 years. Gass attended the Sloan Fellows Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received a master’s degree in management. He also graduated from Lehigh University with a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering.

 

Gass joins Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien and Colorado State University at Pueblo President Joe Garcia as co-chairs of the P-20 Council.

 

Colorado is privileged to serve as the home of United Launch Alliance and its many employees and their families,” Lt. Gov. O’Brien said. “It will be an equal privilege to serve alongside Michael as we build a better education system that readies today’s students for the industries of the future.”

 

Gov. Ritter also has appointed Elliott Asp, assistant superintendent for performance improvement in the Cherry Creek School District, to the P-20 Council. He serves on the Technical Advisory Committee for the Colorado Student Assessment Program and was appointed by Gov. Ritter to the Technical Advisory Group for Longitudinal Growth. He currently chairs the P-20 Council’s Data and Accountability Subcommittee.

 

GOV. RITTER MONDAY & TUESDAY SCHEDULE


 

Monday, June 30, 2008

 

All Day                       Gov. Ritter will attend the Western Governors’ Association annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Gov. Ritter will be attending and taking part in several break-out sessions focusing on topics such as energy development, land management, water management, climate change and wildlife corridors.

 

                                    Click here for a link to the WGA website and the final agenda for the annual conference.

 

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

 

11:45 a.m.                   Gov. Ritter will take part in the closing news conference for the Western Governors’ Association annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Media will be able to listen in and ask questions via a conference call. To obtain the call-in number and password, e-mail Karen Deike at kdeike@westgov.org.

 

3:30 p.m.                    Gov. Ritter will take part in a dedication ceremony for a new solar array at the ColoradoRockyMountainSchool in Carbondale. The 150-kilowatt system sits on a half-acre of ranchland owned by the high school and is the largest solar electric installation in Western Colorado. It will power the school’s science building, and excess energy will be fed onto the town of Carbondale‘s power grid. The voter-approved project is a joint venture that also includes the Aspen Ski Co., Community Office for Resource Efficiency, Town of Carbondale and Xcel Energy.

 

            Location:
1493 County Road # 106, Carbondale

.

 


GOV. RITTER SCHEDULE FOR TODAY


 

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

 

6:10 & 7:30 a.m.        Gov. Ritter will take part in Bike to Work Day events on Wednesday morning. He will greet riders and be available for media interviews at the BicycleVillage store at 2802 S. Havana at 6:10 a.m., and then take part in the major Bike to Work Day celebration at 7:30 a.m. at CivicCenter park’s Greek Amphitheater in downtown Denver.

 

                                    Location:        BicycleVillage, 2802 S. Havana (6:10 a.m.)

Civic Center park, Greek Theater, (7:30 a.m.)

 

3 p.m.                          Gov. Ritter will present the final efficiency and cost-saving recommendations from the first year of his Government Efficiency and Management (GEM) Performance Review. Initial recommendations were issued in October, identifying $145 million in cost savings, customer-service efficiencies and other benefits.

                                   

                                    Location:        West Foyer, State Capitol.

 

# # # 

GOV. RITTER SEEKS FEDERAL DROUGHT RELIEF

Gov. Bill Ritter today asked the federal government for drought relief for farmers and ranchers in four southeast Colorado counties. Despite the above-average snowfall in the Colorado mountains this past winter, some parts of southeast Colorado have seen only 19 percent of normal precipitation.

 

Specifically, Gov. Ritter is seeking permission for immediate haying and grazing on federal Conservation Reserve Program acres for farmers and ranchers in Baca, Bent, Kiowa and Prowers counties.

 

Gov. Ritter sent the following letter to the federal Farm Service Agency:

 

Lewis Frank

State Director

Farm Service Agency

U.S. Department of Agriculture


655 Parfet St

.

Lakewood, CO  80215

 

Dear Mr. Frank:

 

As you are aware, drought has once again appeared in parts of Colorado despite the abundant snowfall Colorado experienced this past winter.  In parts of southeast Colorado precipitation is as low as 19 percent of normal.

 

I am asking USDA Farm Service Agency offices to assess local conditions throughout Colorado and prepare damage assessment reports if crop losses appear to exceed threshold levels. 

 

I am particularly concerned about the production of native pasture.  I am hearing reports that ranchers are reducing their herds due to lack of pasture.  Therefore, I am also asking that all efforts be taken to secure permission for immediate haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program acres in southeast Colorado, specifically in the most immediate areas of concern:  Baca, Prowers, Kiowa and Bent Counties

 

The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) has concurrence from the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) to support immediate access for the eligible CRP acreage in Baca, Prowers, Kiowa and Bent Counties for purposes of haying and grazing. They will work together to ensure that immediate haying and grazing be conducted in a manner consistent with sound wildlife management practices. 

 

I very much appreciate the efforts FSA has already undertaken to address drought conditions in Colorado.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Bill Ritter, Jr.

Governor

 

 

LT. GOV. O’BRIEN LEADS EARLY CHILDHOOD TEAM TO HARVARD


 

Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien will lead a Colorado delegation to Harvard University this week to learn about science-based polices that help children’s learning, behavior and health. Colorado is one of 14 states selected to be a part of a national Symposium on Early Childhood Science and Policy.

 

“This is an opportunity to learn from world-renowned researchers how Colorado‘s policymakers, non-profits and business community can work together to improve the lives of vulnerable children from birth through five years old,” Lt. Gov. O’Brien said.

 

Also on the Colorado team for the Harvard symposium are Karen Beye, executive director of the Colorado Department of Human Services; Senate President Peter Groff; Rep. Tom Massey of Poncha Springs; Jeanette Cornier, assistant commissioner of the Colorado Department of Education; Zack Neumeyer, chairman of Sage Hospitality Resources; and Elsa Holguin, senior program officer from the Rose Community Foundation.  

 

During the Thursday and Friday presentations, the state delegations will learn about recent advances in neuroscience, molecular biology, medicine and developmental psychology in early childhood development. Colorado‘s team will also put together an action plan to develop policies to address early childhood needs.

 

The symposium is being convened by the National Governor’s Association Center for Best Practices, Harvard University‘s Center on the Developing Child and the National Conference of State Legislatures. The event is also supported by the Buffett Early Childhood Fund.

 

GOV. RITTER SCHEDULE FOR TODAY & WEDNESDAY


 

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

 

10:30 a.m.                   Gov. Ritter, Insurance Commissioner Marcy Morrison and Kaiser Permanente Colorado President Donna Lynne will announce an agreement under which Kaiser will provide substantial financial relief, insurance premium credits, enhanced benefits and expanded assistance to Colorado consumers and businesses. The state and Kaiser Permanente reached the agreement, the first of its kind in Colorado, after more than a year of work.

 

Location:        Governor’s Office, State Capitol.

 

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

 

6:10 & 7:30 a.m.        Gov. Ritter will take part in Bike to Work Day events on Wednesday morning. He will greet riders and be available for media interviews at the BicycleVillage store at 2802 S. Havana at 6:10 a.m., and then take part in the major Bike to Work Day celebration at 7:30 a.m. at CivicCenter park’s Greek Amphitheater in downtown Denver.

 

                                    Location:        BicycleVillage, 2802 S. Havana (6:10 a.m.)

Civic Center park, Greek Theater, (7:30 a.m.)

 

3 p.m.                          Gov. Ritter will present the final efficiency and cost-saving recommendations from the first year of his Government Efficiency and Management (GEM) Performance Review. Initial recommendations were issued in October, identifying $145 million in cost savings, customer-service efficiencies and other benefits.

                                   

                                    Location:        West Foyer, State Capitol.

 


GOV. RITTER ANNOUNCES ENERGY EFFICIENCY & CONSERVATION CAMPAIGN


Gov. Bill Ritter today announced the kickoff of a statewide energy efficiency and conservation campaign called “The New Energy Economy: Bringing It Home,” which will feature television and radio advertisements to educate homeowners, individuals and consumers about low-cost and simple steps to save energy.

 

“We are bringing the New Energy Economy home to Coloradans,” Gov. Ritter said. “This campaign offers simple steps that any of us can take to save energy and money. Small changes in how we use energy make big differences in reducing energy costs and carbon emissions.”

 

Gov. Ritter said the 12-month campaign will provide basic advice and tips on how to save money at home and at work:

 

·         “Turn it Down!” Install and use a programmable thermostat or adjust the temperature down when you aren’t at home. Programmable thermostats can save up to $150 a year in utility bills.

 

·         “Unplug it!” Unplug electronics, such as cell phone chargers, when not in use, or install a power strip for controlling devices such as computers, TVs and entertainment systems. Seventy-five percent of electricity used by electronic devices is while the products are turned off. 

 

·         “Turn it Off” Turn off the lights when leaving a room and install energy efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). CFLs use about 75 percent less energy than standard lights and last 10 times longer.  

 

·         “Take a Ride” Gov. Ritter and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper ask you to “Take a ride, share a ride, or ride.”  Besides getting exercise, you can save money on gas and vehicle maintenance by riding a bike. Relax on the bus or catch up with friends when you carpool.

 

“The goal of this campaign is to help homeowners and consumers across the state to take control of their energy use by starting with these simple steps,” Gov. Ritter said. “These tips are aimed at helping consumers save money on utility bills and at the gas pump, and they will protect our environment by reducing our carbon emissions.” 

 

Click here to view the kickoff TV ad. To learn more about other energy saving tips and programs, visit the Governor’s Energy Office at www.colorado.gov/energy.

 


GOV. RITTER’S BUDGET OFFICE RELEASES QUARTERLY ECONOMIC & REVENUE FORECAST

Gov. Bill Ritter‘s Office of State Planning and Budgeting released its June 2008 economic and revenue forecast today for the five-year forecast period covering the current fiscal year (2007-08) through FY 2011-12. The complete forecast is available online by clicking here.

 

Colorado‘s revenues are up slightly in the current fiscal year compared to our March forecast,” said Todd Saliman, director of Gov. Ritter’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting. “Because revenues are above our previous forecast in the current year and all decisions from the legislative session have been put into the forecast, we are estimating that $109.9 million more will be available for transportation as we end FY 07/08. However, we anticipate that the economy will continue to slow in the months to come but we will be somewhat buffered by our strong energy and bio-technology sectors.”

 

Highlights from the Revenue Forecast:

 

·         Based on improved income tax collections since the previous forecast, assumed to be the result of timely tax filings in order to receive federal stimulus checks, FY 2007-08 General Fund revenue is anticipated to increase $25.8 million over the March forecast, to $7.8214 billion. 

 

·         Greater inflation, unemployment and reduced disposable income are anticipated as a result of increased fuel costs and low residential vacancy rates for rentable properties.  However, because inflation is also anticipated to increase personal income, the current forecast assumes only minor reductions in General Fund revenues beginning in FY 2009-10.

 

·         The consensus forecast for severance taxes conducted with Legislative Council Staff reflects significant increases in revenue, beginning in FY 2007-08.  These revenue increases are the result of substantial growth in hub prices for oil and natural gas and the improved pipeline capacity for exporting oil and gas from Colorado.

 

·         The forecast shows transportation funding through SB 97-1 and HB 1310 transfers totaling $818.3 million for the five-year forecast period, after receiving $394.8 million in FY 2006-07.

 

·         Under the provisions of Referendum C, the state is projected to retain $6.4 billion from fiscal 2005-06 through 2009-10. This represents a $160 million increase over the March forecast figures and is largely due to increases in cash fund revenues from severance and increased fees from regulated industries. A TABOR refund is no longer expected during the forecast period.

 

Highlights from the Economic Forecast:

 

·         The forecasts for most Colorado economic indicators were decreased slightly as expectations of growth in both the national and local economies declined. 

 

·         While recent unemployment rates are anticipated to yield an unemployment rate of 4.7 in 2008, Colorado‘s workforce is still anticipated to grow by 1.4 percent in 2008, anchored by the state’s strong renewable and non-renewable energy sectors. Both indices are still below comparable national averages, reinforcing the somewhat muted impacts Colorado has experienced from the slowing national economy.


GOV. RITTER CRITICIZES PRESIDENT’S CALL TO COMMERCIALIZE OIL SHALE DEVELOPMENT


Gov. Bill Ritter today criticized President Bush’s call for Congress and the federal government to hasten commercial development of oil shale in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

 

Colorado is blessed with abundant energy supplies – traditional supplies, renewable supplies, and unconventional supplies such as oil shale,” Gov. Ritter said. “I support responsible development of all of these resources. As this state and this country grapple with soaring gasoline and energy costs, this issue is becoming even more urgent and more important.

 

“When it comes to oil shale, Colorado‘s history teaches us very clearly that we must have answers to key threshold questions before the federal government moves from research to commercialization of oil shale development.

 

“No one – not even the companies working on oil shale development – can tell us with any certainty how much energy it will take to develop this resource, where that energy would come from, what the impacts on Colorado’s water supplies or quality would be, and what housing, transportation and other infrastructure needs will be.

 

“The current research, development and demonstration process for oil shale must be allowed to continue. We must not sacrificeColorado in a knee-jerk reaction to decades of failed energy policy. An irresponsible push to commercially develop oil shale at this time, at Colorado‘s expense, will do nothing to seriously address $4-a-gallon gas.

 

“I welcome a responsible and thoughtful approach by the administration and Congress. Continued investments in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in Colorado‘s New Energy Economy, in clean-coal technologies and new alternative fuels will make a difference.

 

“Breaking our addiction to foreign oil and establishing a secure energy future, economic future and environmental future have to be among our highest national priorities.  We need to get on with it. And, most importantly, we need to do it responsibly.”