Get real, Ritter, before it’s too late
Liken a State of the State speech to the first day one owns a new car. Everything looks great. It runs smoothly. The road ahead looks worry free.Except for that nagging thought in the back of the new car owner’s mind: How long will this last?If you listened to or read Gov. Bill Ritter’s speech Thursday at some point, after he drew a word picture of great things to come, perhaps like us you began to have nagging thoughts. It’s not that what he wants for Colorado is wrong, but we wonder, how’s he going to get this accomplished?The speech laid out an ambitious agenda for improving Colorado’s economy, education, transportation and health care systems. The subjects are not new. In the last 10 years, the topics of education, transportation and immigration have dominated the legislative debate, but with little to no resolution. That’s because all three are too big to handle at one time.Ritter, quite foolishly, is not letting the Legislature’s record of limited past success slow him down.He started outlining his goals by calling for a 20 percent improvement in the efficiency of electricity use statewide by 2020. He asked for a health plan that provides every Coloradan with access to some basic form of health insurance and health care by 2010. He calls for solving congestion problems on I-70. He wants to cut the dropout rate in half within 10 years. On top of all that, he wants to lessen the costs of attending state universities.If that sound like a lot that’s because it is.We laud the lofty goals, but hope the governor understands that simply accomplishing one of these initiatives will be a revolution for Colorado.While Ritter admitted many of these are long-term changes, which were suggested “in order to recoup even more savings in the long run,” the bottom line is, state budgets must be balanced, and no state, let alone Colorado, has accomplished half of what Ritter is suggesting.While we wish the Governor well in his endeavors, we’re reminded of the cliché about biting off more than one can chew.Voters have short memories and high expectations. Promising too much will only result in disappointment.In light of the political reality he faces, we hope sooner rather than later, the governor will figure out how to best partner with the Legislature to refine and prioritize his goals. Doing so may ensure success. Not doing so will lead to unfulfilled promises that will lead to people in the state wondering if they’ve elected a lemon.To read the complete transcript, visit http://www.summitdaily.com/ritterspeech.
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