would stagnate,” said Dan Powers, executive director of CO-LABS, a consortium of Colorado’s federal research labs and institutions. “In some ways, it’s hard to know what would be lost if there are wholesale closures of departments and projects within labs.”
More than 30 research labs and institutions that receive 51 percent or more of their funding from federal sources employ over 7,800 employees in Colorado, Powers said. The work at those labs and institutions spans multiple industries, including agriculture, renewable energy, climate science, disease research and forestry, and has impacts that ripple across the nation, he said.
The potentially impacted also include the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, which has 1,700 regular employees. Its funding for fiscal year 2016 was $386.6 million, 80 percent of which came from the Department of Energy, while the remaining 20 percent came from grants from other federal agencies.
Other federal institutions that could be affected include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has more than 1,000 workers in its Boulder lab, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which has more than 650 workers in Boulder. Both are funded by the Commerce Department.
Public broadcasting and arts
The proposed budget would eliminate the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s $445 million budget entirely, which could have varying impacts on Colorado’s stations. Although national programs PBS and NPR get most of the attention, 90 percent of CPB’s budget goes toward local stations.
Federal funding from CPB typically accounts for 15 to 20 percent of Colorado Public Broadcasting’s annual budget, spokeswoman Pam Parker said. The cuts would likely affect programming right away, although she speculated that it would hurt the national programs more. Colorado’s rural and inner city communities would be particularly affected, she said, as people rely on them for pre-school programming, such as “Sesame Street.”
Federal funding accounts for 5 percent of Colorado Public Radio’s budget, which comes out to $893,000, CPR spokeswoman Lauren Cameron said.
To prepare for these types of situations, CPR started to include annual budget surpluses to offset any loss of CPB funding six years ago.
The National Endowment for the Arts would also be eliminated as Trump’s proposal drops its $148 million budget, cutting off a pipeline that funneled $51.5 million into Colorado arts between 19952015. The agency gave 18 grants to Colorado organizations for 2017, totaling $355,000. Its recipients range from large cultural institutions, such as $45,000 to both the Denver Art Museum and Denver Botanical Gardens, and small cultural institutions, such as $10,000 to Su Teatro.
“We are disappointed because we see our funding actively making a difference with individuals of all ages in thousands of communities, large, small, urban and rural, and in every Congressional district in the nation,” NEA chairman Jane Chu said in a statement Thursday.
One program that could be impacted at Denver International Airport and throughout Colorado is the essential air markets service, an initiative that subsidizes air routes to small airports in places such as Pueblo, Alamosa and Cortez through carriers including Boutique Air and Great Lakes Airlines.
DIA has the most essential air markets service destinations of any airport in the continental United States, with routes also outside of the state to small towns in Kansas, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska. The proposed budget would apparently eliminate the program entirely.
Also at risk are Amtrak’s longdistance train routes, two of which run through Colorado from Chicago to California. The rail carrier’s California Zephyr to San Francisco has stops at Denver Union Station, Granby and Grand Junction. Amtrak’s Southwest Chief to Los Angeles serves as an economic boon and link to the nation for its stations in Lamar, La Junta and Trinidad.
Amtrak says 115,000 people boarded its trains in Colorado in 2015, nearly 15 percent of whom reported they wouldn’t have traveled if Amtrak wasn’t available. The routes are linked to 480 Colorado jobs and have a $48 million impact.
Trump’s plan would slice more than $9 billion from the federal education budget for fiscal 2018.
Denver Public Schools could lose between $5 million to $10 million in federal funding if Congress approves Trump’s proposed budget, said Superintendent Tom Boasberg.
DPS could lose $3.75 million it gets annually to hire and train teachers in schools throughout the district, Boasberg said. Afterschool, before-school and extended-day programs, known in DPS as Discovery Link, would take a $1 million hit.
Those programs provide educational learning opportunities for working families that they might not otherwise be able to afford, Boasberg said.
“We are deeply troubled by the proposed cuts to federal education funding, which target key efforts to improve classroom instruction and provide extended learning opportunities for kids,” he said.
The proposed amount, Boasberg said, “is a significant sum, but we are equally concerned about the message this seems to send about the value of researchproven, data-supported efforts that work for all of our students, but particularly our most vulnerable kids.”
Charter school advocates are encouraged by Trump’s call for $1.4 billion in new federal investments in school choice, including vouchers for private schools, charter schools and Title 1 funding that would follow students to the public schools of their choice.
Charter schools are public schools but generally operate independently from the local school district.
One Department of Justice program that’s on the chopping block has helped Colorado’s Department of Corrections, Denver and 33 other counties. Agencies in the state were awarded a combined $3.5 million last year from a longtargeted program that helps offset the cost of incarcerating immigrants who commit crimes while in the country illegally.
The State Criminal Alien Assistance Program helps offset the salaries of correctional and jail officers for the time they spend overseeing such inmates while they serve sentences for at least a felony conviction or two misdemeanor convictions. Eliminating the SCAAP program would save $210 million.
The Obama administration tried to end that program, too, in recent years — only to be rebuffed by Congress, which restored the funding. But the money for local awards has been cut by more than half since 2002.
A spokesman for the Colorado DOC, which received nearly $1.2 million in 2015 and $2.1 million last year, could not be reached for comment. In Denver, which received about $490,000 each of the last two years, the sheriff’s department was bracing for the loss. A spokesman said the federal program reimbursed about 25 percent of salary costs related to officers’ time overseeing eligible inmates. The department’s budget was about $137 million.
“Close to a half-million dollar hit this year would be significant to us,” said Simon Crittle of the Denver Sheriff’s Department. “Obviously it’s disappointing, especially since the federal government is so reliant on local folks to identify these sorts of inmates.”
The University of Colorado would be stung by proposed budget cuts through reduced research spending, school officials say. The losses would ripple throughout the state’s economy. Daily Camera file