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Gazette Premium Content Hickenlooper seeks ideas, suggests cuts

JOHN SCHROYER Updated: November 30, 2010 at 12:00 am

The state needs as many ideas as possible from as many people as possible. And it needs them quick.

That was the message from Gov.-elect John Hickenlooper Tuesday morning when he spoke to a gathering of county commissioners from across the state. Hickenlooper was the keynote speaker at the winter conference of Colorado Counties, Inc., held at the Crowne Plaza in Colorado Springs.

The state is in dire financial straits, he reminded them, and so every idea, no matter how small, is on the table.

“Every county in this state, every person in this room has a role to play,” Hickenlooper told dozens of county officials. “We don’t have a hidden pile of money in any corner of the state budget, and that’s a challenge for us all.”

Hickenlooper said county governments are more effective at serving the needs of their residents, so he’d like to see counties and municipalities take over delivery and oversight of services that have traditionally been managed by the state. Human services administration is one example, he said.

The Gov.-elect listed several other ideas as well. He suggested eliminating state jobs as employees retire in coming years. He called CSAP testing “one of the biggest wastes of investment we possibly can make,” and said it needs to be drastically re-vamped.

Hickenlooper wants to create a broad Internet grid for use by students and businesses alike as a public resource. And he urged officials to promote run-down areas of their towns and counties to businesses as a way of re-invigorating the economy.

El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark called Hickenlooper’s speech “encouraging.”

“It helps to have someone who understands local government (as governor),” said Clark, who is one of Hickenlooper’s several hundred transition team members.

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