Colorado's spending relative to economy remains steady over three decades
As debate over three fiscal ballot measures – Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 – intensifies, it is important to understand how Colorado compares in terms of expenditures and taxes.
As shown on the accompanying charts, Colorado continues to be a small-government state. General Fund expenditures, money spent on K-12 education, corrections, higher education, health care, human services and other state agencies, have remained relatively constant over time compared to the state's economy. These expenditures equaled about 3 percent of Colorado's economy each year from 1982 through 2008. In fact, they were slightly below 3 percent in 2008 and slightly above 3 percent in 1982.
When looking at total state and local government expenditures, the picture is essentially the same. Expenditures totaled 15 percent of the state's economy in 1970 and 16.5 percent in 2006. They did not vary much above or below 15 percent over the 36 years studied by the Colorado Legislative Council Staff.
Colorado's combined state and local taxes are some of the lowest in the nation, ranking 46th in 2007, the most recent year data is available.
– Rich Jones and George Awuor