December 8, 2004: Headlines: Directors - Celeste: Denver Post : Richard Celeste on Panel to study government finances

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Directors of the Peace Corps: Richard Celeste: December 8, 2004: Headlines: Directors - Celeste: Denver Post : Richard Celeste on Panel to study government finances

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Richard Celeste on Panel to study government finances

Richard Celeste on Panel to study government finances

Richard Celeste on Panel to study government finances

Panel to study government finances

Group will report on factors "putting our great state at risk"

By David Olinger
Denver Post Staff Writer

Post / John Prieto
James Griesemer, left, former dean of the Daniels College of Business, and DU chancellor Daniel Ritchie discuss the formation of a panel to examine government finances.

A panel of business and academic leaders plans to undertake the first comprehensive study of Colorado government finances in 45 years.

The group will spend three months analyzing the causes of the state's fiscal distress. It also plans to study the decentralization of government into an estimated 2,455 local, school and special districts.

University of Denver chancellor Daniel Ritchie announced the panel members and their mission at a Denver news conference Tuesday.

He said the group will try to provide a comprehensive, nonpartisan look at the factors "putting our great state at risk."

Ritchie expects it to be the most thorough fiscal study of Colorado since 1959, when a 462-page report on financing state and local government inspired a series of tax reforms. Those included a graduated income tax and a decision to relinquish property taxes to local governments, according to people familiar with the work.

The new report will be due next spring and may be followed by a study of solutions.

Ritchie said he hopes the effort will help close a perception gap between government officials who speak of a crisis and voters who don't see the evidence.

"Part of what we want to do is shed light," he said.

The University of Denver donated $200,000 to pay staff and research costs for the 16- member panel of volunteers.

The group will be led by James Griesemer, former dean of the university's Daniels College of Business.

Others on the Colorado Economic Futures Panel are financial and academic leaders with diverse backgrounds.

They include Colorado College president Richard Celeste, a former ambassador to India, Peace Corps director and governor of Ohio; Gerald Groswold, a resort consultant and member of the National Ski Hall of Fame; Wilson Kendall, president of the Center for Business and Economic Forecasting in Colorado; and Richard Robinson, co-chief of Robinson Dairy.

Their staff will be headed by Charles Brown, former executive director of the Colorado's nonpartisan legislative council, which serves lawmakers.

Griesemer said the panel grew out of a general concern that Colorado governments are in trouble, as evidenced by cuts in services, hefty college tuition increases and a state proposal to cash in a long-term settlement with tobacco companies.

But he said panel members will also take note of "what's positive and what's going well" in Colorado governments.

The fiscal report card will delve into conflicts between voter-approved constitutional amendments that limit state spending and residential property taxes but require spending more on schools and public health.

It will also examine more obscure laws and policies that limit state borrowing, cap general fund growth and impel local governments to fight over businesses that produce sales taxes.

"My guess is the situation is not as simple as everyone thinks it is," Griesemer said.

Staff writer David Olinger can be reached at 303-820-1498 or .

RICHARD (DICK) F. CELESTE began his term as the twelfth president of Colorado College in July 2002. Prior to joining CC, he served as the United States Ambassador to India. His public service experience also includes two terms as governor of Ohio, service as director of the United States Peace Corps, and one term as lieutenant governor of Ohio. In the private sector, Celeste was a managing partner of Celeste and Sabety Ltd., an economic development consultancy. Active in academia before arriving at CC, he was a Rhodes Scholar.

When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Rumors are swirling that Peace Corps Director Vasquez may be leaving the administration. We think Director Vasquez has been doing a good job and if he decides to stay to the end of the administration, he could possibly have the same sort of impact as a Loret Ruppe Miller. If Vasquez has decided to leave, then Bob Taft, Peter McPherson, Chris Shays, or Jody Olsen would be good candidates to run the agency. Latest: For the record, Peace Corps has no comment on the rumors.

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Story Source: Denver Post

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