John Hickenlooper better get used to cutting budgets, and the sniveling Democrats in the Statehouse better start accepting reality.

Colorado's recession isn't over, and the budget picture isn't going to get prettier.

These are a few of the realizations that come home to roost as new numbers show that unemployment in Colorado has reached a generational record.

The news comes as the Legislature nears debate on Governor Hickenlooper's budget. Hickenlooper has faced widespread resistance from Democrats, liberal loons, and public sector unions for the austere cuts to education he proposed.

But these numbers effectively box in legislative Democrats. They also mean that Hick's first round of cuts won't be his last.

Half of the legislative session is over. It’s time to get down to brass tacks and deal with the facts of budget reality.

As we pointed out in a previous post, and confirmed by a Pew/Rockefeller study, Speaker McNulty was right about the budget: in a recession, it’s better to cut early than cut late. Time is already playing that out.

We can’t tax our way out of this recession. Nor would the magical pixie dust of tax “fairness” bring smiles and Happy Meals to all the schools in the land. If there are no good jobs in a town, people leave — that is far more damaging to local schools than a period of financial austerity.

Leadership in the Legislature can either find ways to help encourage private sector employment, and create an environment for economic growth, or it can continue to send tigerblood missives about the undying love Republicans supposedly have for pollution and ignore the peril at its footstep.

We hope it chooses the former.