COLORADO FACES $249M BUDGET SHORTFALL FOR REMAINING FISCAL YEAR
DENVER— Today, Colorado’s Legislative Council released its economic forecast. For budget year 2008-09, which ends June 30th, 2009, there is an estimated $249 million shortfall. Thanks to the hard work of the Joint Budget Committee Colorado has a balanced budget and, despite these numbers, the General Assembly will not have to reconvene for a special session. For fiscal year 2009-10 Colorado faces a $384 million shortfall according to Legislative Council. Nearly all the decrease in the General Fund Revenue forecast was due to a decrease in income tax and sales tax revenue as a result of the economic downturn.
The Senate Majority commented on these latest figures.
Senate President Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont): “The numbers are bleak but these are not the numbers I agonize over. It’s the nearly 47,000 Coloradans who are out of work, the 17,000 children who lost access to health clinics, the middle-class college kid who can no longer pay the ever-increasing tuition bill - these are the numbers I’m focused on. While tough times don’t last, tough people do. We’ll lead the state through this recession and move forward to a brighter future.”
Sen. Moe Keller (D-Wheat Ridge) is the Chair of the Joint Budget Committee: “We budgeted to the most conservative figures and made plans to deal with this shortfall so we will not have a special session this year. Colorado doesn’t have ‘fat’ in its budget so the cuts we make down the road are going to hurt. Each department felt cuts to their budgets, and each will undoubtedly see more in the next fiscal year.”
Senate Majority Leader John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) is also a member of the Interim Committee on Long- Term Fiscal Stability: “These numbers lead us to ask ourselves: what kind of Colorado do we want to live in? Do we want to send our kids to public colleges and universities in Colorado? Do we want a Colorado able to quickly and effectively respond to a potential flu outbreak? Do we want a Colorado with healthy, vaccinated children? We are facing tough choices and we are making the right decisions to lead Colorado forward.”
Senator Abel Tapia (D-Pueblo) is a member of the Joint Budget Committee: “We have worked very hard at the JBC to protect Colorado from the devastating effects of the economic downturn: To balance the budget we set aside state cash funds, reserve savings funds, and drew down federal stimulus dollars. We will continue that work next year through smart spending and prudent budgeting.”