Several months ago, we wrote you about "TBD Colorado" – Gov. John Hickenlooper's non-partisan, collaborative effort to spark informed and constructive conversations among Coloradans about some of the biggest issues facing the state.
More than a thousand Coloradans have invested a great deal of time in community meetings to learn about the state's budget, education, health care and transportation systems and personnel challenges. Then, they considered policy options.
It's a serious subject, but we still tried to have some fun this summer telling you about General Fund and his mounting problems. We hope our Plain Talk series made some dry topics more interesting and understandable. And it didn't hurt to have General Fund himself illustrate our points.
The resounding defeat of the fiscally destructive ballot measures, Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101, is the latest, but not final, round in a critically important debate about Colorado's future.
Profound budget issues remain, as further cuts in critical services such as health care, education and transportation loom with a projected $1.1 billion state deficit in 2011.
Economists with the Legislative Council project that General Fund revenues in the current fiscal year will come in $240 million below budgeted appropriations. This is even after the $320 million in cuts Gov. Bill Ritter announced in August.
State revenues will fall about $250 million short of appropriations for the fiscal year that ends next week, according testimony today by state economists before the Joint Budget Committee. Estimates from the economists are worse than their projections in March and show that the state's economy was weaker than anticipated in the second quarter.
We got another dose of bad budget news on Tuesday (1/27). There will be significant cuts this year and next. As lawmakers move forward, we offer some principles we think should serve as guideposts. We will be communicating them each and every chance we get to talk to lawmakers, our allies, the media and the general public.