SENATE DEMOCRATS RESPOND
DENVER— This morning the Colorado Legislative Council released a troubling forecast for the next four years. This sobering news projects that General Fund revenue will be $208 million below the amount budgeted in the fiscal year 2008-09 meaning the General Assembly will have to look for $208 million in cuts for the current budget which ends this July. The shortfall over two years (FY 08-10) will be $1.4 billion, an increase from the $1 billion which was projected in December.
The Legislative Council estimates a shortfall of $922 million in General Fund Revenue in FY 2009-10. This will necessitate budget cuts which the Senate will begin during the budget discussions March 30th, 2009. The Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting said that they anticipate the economy to turn positive near the end of 2009 and the recovery will be more gradual than previously thought.
click here for the link of the full report of the economic forecast from Legislative Council.
Senate President Peter Groff (D-Denver): “We knew the numbers would be bad, but that doesn’t make it any easier when you realize what impact this will have on our ability provide services for the citizens of this state. As I meet with other legislators from across the country, I am reminded that Colorado, in many ways, has not been hit as hard as other states. As I said in my opening day remarks, Colorado’s foundation is based on this pioneering spirit. We are used to hard work and tough decisions and these latest challenges before us will be met with determination to get through this economic downturn and the deep responsibility to protect the most vulnerable populations in the state.”
Senator Moe Keller (D-Wheat Ridge), Chair, Joint Budget Committee: “The forecast is bad. It means we will have to work very hard on next year’s budget to make cuts to balance the budget. We know we will be asking everyone to take a hit.”
Senator Abel Tapia (D-Pueblo), member Joint Budget Committee: “We at the JBC had been planning for a serious shortfall. As we move forward with our budget for next year, we will have make the difficult decisions and make sure we provide the services people absolutely need.”
Senator John Morse (D-Colorado Spring): “When we set out this session, we laid out several priorities to preserve the safety net and create jobs in Colorado. This forecast reaffirms the idea that we need to get rid of the arbitrary formulas in our budget to better position us to meet those goals. SB 228 is in the House now and will allow us to better prioritize the state’s needs in the long-term. The cuts we will have to make in the 09-10 budget as a result of this forecast will be permanent cuts if 228 fails. We need to make sure the mentally ill, developmentally disabled, elderly, and other citizens who rely on the state’s services to survive are not left in the cold. That is our responsibility. It is during these difficult times that we have to live our values instead of simply talking about them”