When was the last time our friends on the Capitol beat over at the Denver Post didn't mention that the state was facing a budget crisis? The answer is, NEVER. To read the Post on a given day you'd think the State was so broke that recycled newspaper was on the cusp of taking the place of toilet paper on the Capitol grounds.
The dome is collapsing. Colleges are closing. Grandma is starving.
That is a rough estimation of the Post's coverage over, give or take, the last decade.
That is why it struck us as odd that the Post failed to mention the state's $1 billion dollar budget gap in a story today about Republicans on the budget committee who blocked a new expansion of the school lunch program.
A government account has an extra $250,000 sitting around in it, so why not spend it? Hmmmm. Perhaps so it can be transfered to pay down the budget shortfall.
To read the story, you would think Republicans were scrooges and scoundrels and scumbags. But here's the thing: when the economy is in the gutter, everything gets cut. Well almost everything gets cut, except the school lunch program. Tough financial times mean the school lunch program stays at the same level as last year, even if it won't be expanded as the Denver Post and Democrats apparently would prefer.
But the Post didn't mention a peep of the budget shortfall being the driving force behind Republicans' decision not to expand a program. Not a word.
Bravo to Senator Lambert and Reps. Gerou and Becker. Republicans on the JBC did the right thing, and most readers can cut through the haze and see the truth. If it were easy to cut programs, or in this case freeze the rate of growth in programs, it would have happened long ago. And for Republicans on the JBC, and their brethern in the legislature who will also be forced to vote on a budget, there are more one-sided stories like this coming.
But cutting government (err, freezing the rate of growth) is what Republicans were sent to the Capitol to do. And by the way, it is what the voters demanded last November.