Gov. John Hickenlooper presented his budget for 2012-13 today, and there was some good news, largely because of the slowly improving economy.
"Because of the hard work we did together in 2011 and 2012, the State's financial position is markedly improved," the governor said in a letter to the Joint Budget Committee. "Our plan reflects cautious optimism for Colorado's economy and a prudent, sustainable approach to managing the state's budget."
Critics are using the 20th anniversary of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights to bash the voter-approved constitutional amendment as something devastating to our state. They talk as if government budgets and the economy are one in the same. Fund governments more, and we're good to go. Fund them less, and it somehow amounts to an economic crisis.
Colorado's fiscal situation forces many hard choices, and there is no better example than our continuing struggle to pay for higher education – and to make college affordable for students and families.
We will see two illustrations of that this week. Tomorrow, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education will continue discussions of possible changes to the state's need-based financial aid program, and the governor will submit his budget request for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
More than one Colorado political expert has said that the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights has had more effect on state government than any other ballot measure in the state's history.
TABOR, as the 20-year-old voter-approved measure is known, has been felt across the state during two recessions. It's best known for restricting Colorado governments – from the state down to school districts - from increasing taxes without a vote of the people. The measure was added to the state Constitution on Election Day in 1992.
We've told you before about "TBD Colorado," Gov. John Hickenlooper's non-partisan, collaborative effort to create informed and constructive conversations among Coloradans about some of the biggest issues facing the state.
TBD has been working hard to get Coloradans talking and to provide ways for residents to speak up and shape the future of our state. The latest effort is a series of videos on important issues and a Facebook page where you can answer survey questions.