The Bell Policy Center is gearing up for the 2015 legislative session, which begins three weeks from today. As always, we'll be tracking many bills, but more than that, we'll be keeping an eye on the big picture – driving action on issues that expand opportunity for Colorado students, families and businesses. Here are our top five priorities for the session:
Colorado’s 65+ population will increase by 123 percent between 2010 and 2030, according to the Bell Policy Center, who cites its sources as the University of Denver: Financing Colorado’s Future: An Analysis of the Fiscal Sustainability of State Government, April 2011; State Demography Office, Colorado’s Aging Trends, Department of local Affairs March 2012; and Colorado Health Institute: Long-Term Services and Supports in Colorado, November 2011. Meanwhile, senior services for older Coloradans remain sorely underfunded.
The AARP is asking the Colorado legislature to think about old folks when they think about the future. The senior citizens' lobbying group predicts Colorado will see a 123 percent increase in residents older than 65 by 2030, "while services for older Coloradans remain sorely underfunded," it says.
AARP sent its legislative requests to the legislature this week for the session that begins Jan. 7. Atop their wish list is medical care and programs that help keep older residents living independently in their homes.
After months of hard work and brainstorming, including public meetings across the state, higher education officials are nearly ready to present a new model for allocating state funding for Colorado's colleges and universities.
The Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) will vote today on a "recommended allocation model" to be presented to legislators and the Joint Budget Committee. The Bell Policy Center, which actively participated in the process, supports the new model as a step forward in the way our state allocates funding for higher education.
Public Comment to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education: Recommended HB 1319 Funding Allocation Model
Frank Waterous, Ph.D., Senior Policy Analyst
December 4, 2014
My name is Frank Waterous, and I am a senior policy analyst with the Bell Policy Center. The Bell is a non-partisan, non-profit research and policy organization founded on progressive values and dedicated to expanding opportunity for all Coloradans.
The number is so big it's hard to get your head around it. Eight hundred and ninety-four million dollars.
If those pursuing a lawsuit to force Colorado to undo a budget-balancing mechanism are successful, that's how much lawmakers would have to cut out of the general fund budget of roughly $10 billion and give to K-12 education.
What would Colorado do? Open prison doors and turn loose bad guys? Zero out higher education? How about defunding the court system?