• News
  • Celebrities
  • Finance
  • Crypto
  • Travel
  • Entertainment
  • Health
  • Others

Colorado budget researchers say state is running out of money

There is nowhere near enough money for Colorado to continue to do the business of the state as things stand, according to an influential team of researchers at the University of Denver. State lawmakers will either have to raise more money or cut away the kind of programs and services most Americans view as measures of the baseline quality of life achieved over centuries in the world’s wealthiest nation.

“We’re hoping this information can get out to build awareness of the cliff we’re speeding toward,” said Charlie Brown, director of the Center for Colorado’s Economic Future at DU on Wednesday.

Image has not been found. URL: http://images.coloradoindependent.com/browntext.jpg

Targeting education

In a roughly 45 minute Power Point presentation, Brown and his colleagues detailed the dire straits the state is sailing into as the slew of constitutional tax-limits in place here led by the Taxpayer Bill of Rights slowly strangle the government, even as the recession releases its grip and revenues begin again to climb.

A little more than a decade from now, Brown said, the state will face a $3.6 billion shortfall. The state will have only enough money to pay for the three big ticket services: education, health care and incarceration.

“There will be no tax revenue for public colleges and universities, no money for the state court system, nothing for child protection services, nothing for youth corrections, nothing for state crime labs and nothing for other core services…”

Brown said that education funding will suffer most. The state will see successive governors repeating variations of the kind of speeches Governor John Hickenlooper gave this year, when he proposed a $375 million slash in the education budget, explaining that “that’s where the money is.” Brown said K-12 education funding will be picked over and parceled out and repeatedly thinned. He said pressure will mount for higher education in the state to be privatized.

Hard sell

The Center has so far only released a summary of its “phase two” study of Colorado’s budget prospects. The full report will likely become available in the next two months or so and will be posted online. The first phase of the study was released earlier in the year. The Center was tapped in 2010 by state lawmakers staring at ledgers soaked in recession red after a year of dramatic cuts in program funding. The Center’s phase one work, which was by design only descriptive, has been lauded as clear-eyed, nonpartisan and comprehensive.

Phase two of the research offers strategies to address the budget crisis and so is sure to be more controversial. Yet the Center has tried mightily to avoid partisan pitfalls by offering two scenarios to balance the books. The first outlines the cuts in programs it would take to close the yawning shortfalls that will increasingly plague the state in coming years. The second scenario presents a program of tax increases to bridge the gap.

“It’s a hard sell,” Brown soberly told the smattering of state reporters gathered in the lecture room. “It’s very tough. There’s no magic pill…. You have to dramatically cut services or increase revenues. You could do a combination but, I can tell you, it’s one thing to say ‘We’re cutting services.’ It’s another thing to say ‘We’re increasing taxes.’ No one wants to get up and say ‘We’re going to raise your taxes and provide you less services.’

Cuts would be centered on education but would also come to eliminate programs or whole departments. On the chopping block mainly would be the departments of agriculture, higher education, local affairs, military and veterans affairs, natural resources, personnel and administration, public health, public safety, regulatory agencies and revenue.

The coming budget gaps cannot be addressed “by mere belt tightening,” the researchers wrote in their summary of findings. “If state government were a tree, it would mean lopping off entire branches.

“In that case a wholesale rethinking of government would be necessary. Should tax dollars continue to subsidize in-state tuition at state colleges and universities? Can we still afford to supervise and rehabilitate youthful offenders? What about the state psychiatric hospital[s]…? What about state enforcement of disease control and clean water regulations?”

Cutting or taxing

The scenario presented by the researchers to increase revenue hinged mostly on a new graduated income tax, extending sales taxes to personal services outside of health care like those provided by divorce attorneys, and rebalancing the local-state school funding structure by placing a greater share on local districts and instituting a statewide uniform mill levy.

Brown said the proposed tax increases, although substantial, are sufficiently restrained as to keep Colorado “competitive” with the tax regimes in place in surrounding states.

He conceded, however, that the tax increases are illegal as long as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights remains in place or unmodified, which is a serious impediment to raising revenue.

It’s difficult enough, of course, to find a politician anywhere in the country willing to make the case for tax hikes. In Colorado that argument is hobbled by the need to alter the constitution or submit ballot referendums for each of the tax increases or modifications proposed by the Center researchers.

The Center’s Steve Fisher said that bringing the public into the discussion is essential.

“Our educational role is big. We’re not advocating one way or the other. We plan to do a lot of public education.”

Brown said he alone gave more than 30 presentations on the Center’s “phase one” findings and expects to do the same kind of tour for “phase two.” The Center’s website will include the narrated Power Point presentation given to reporters Wednesday. It also includes an interactive “Bridge the Gap” feature where readers can try to balance the budget themselves.

*Got A Tip? Story Pitch?

Discussion & Comments (0)

    Recent Articles

    • Things You Should Know about North America

      Things You Should Know about North America

      Get to know more about North America.

    • Eurovision 2010 Paula Seling Unpredictable Contest

      Eurovision 2010 Paula Seling Unpredictable Contest

      Paula Seling's experience on the Eurovision stage led her to declare that "Eurovision is an unpredictable contest". Which may explain the success of the young Lena from Germany, about whom the predictions before the event did not offer much chances for victory.

    • VIPRow.me - The Best Sports Streaming Website Today

      VIPRow.me - The Best Sports Streaming Website Today

      Have you ever contemplated creating a user-friendly site dedicated to sports-related free live streaming channels?

    • Learn How To Download, Install, And Use The Xnxubd 2022 Frame App

      Learn How To Download, Install, And Use The Xnxubd 2022 Frame App

      XNXUBD 2022 Nvidia users are able to watch thousands of videos and other contents online. XNXUBD 2022 Nvidia New is a piece of software that enables people to watch videos online without having to pay for memberships. On a graphics card, the XNXubd also provides some of the best gaming and virtual reality experiences.

    • Xvideostudio Video Editor Apk Free Download For Pc Full Version In 2022

      Xvideostudio Video Editor Apk Free Download For Pc Full Version In 2022

      A new edition of the Video Editor Apk for xVideostudio.Video Studio has all the latest features, including support for multiple video download formats in HD, FHD, and even 4K resolutions.

    • 9 Best Lotion For Masturbation - Popular Choice For 2022

      9 Best Lotion For Masturbation - Popular Choice For 2022

      Masturbation is a common activity for men and women. It's a natural and risk-free way to explore your body, experience pleasure, and release sexual tension.

    • Reasons Why You Need To Stop Watching Movies From Sflix

      Reasons Why You Need To Stop Watching Movies From Sflix

      Without having to sign up or pay anything, you can watch movies online for free with SFlix. It has more than 10,000 movies and television shows.

    • Coi Leray Mom And Dad's Family History & Wife, Explained

      Coi Leray Mom And Dad's Family History & Wife, Explained

      Coi Leray Collins (born May 11, 1997) is a rapper from the United States. Leray started publishing songs to SoundCloud in 2014, and in 2018 she released her breakthrough track "Huddy" as well as her first mixtape, Everythingcoz.

    • Listen And Download Music On MyFreeMP3 For Free

      Listen And Download Music On MyFreeMP3 For Free

      Are you in a bind and looking for a place to obtain free mp3 songs? Never again will you need to bother, since this article has everything necessary to obtain your solution. Download free music from MyfreeMP3.com, one of the world's most popular websites.