Gov. John Hickenlooper delivered his second State of the State address to the Colorado General Assembly today, but we didn't get the usual laundry list of programs and initiatives. Instead, we heard an aspirational vision for the kind of state Colorado can be and a call for greater partnership and collaboration among political parties and throughout the state.
"By making the Colorado EITC permanent and increasing its amount, working families will receive meaningful support in making ends meet, and at the same time you will provide a much-needed fiscal stimulus to our economy."
"SUTA dumping hurts state unemployment trust funds and shifts a tax burden to law abiding citizens. Unemployed workers, particularly low-income workers rely on the unemployment system to keep them and their families from falling out of the cycle of opportunity and into poverty. Actions that weaken the unemployment system hurt these workers.
On January 1, 74,000 low-wage workers in Colorado will get a 3.8 percent raise when the state's minimum wage goes up by 28¢ to $7.64 per hour. For employees who work full-time all year, this amounts to $582 more per year.
Voters approved Amendment 42 to Colorado's constitution in 2006, raising the minimum wage and requiring that the wage to be adjusted each year by the rate of inflation in Colorado. Inflation increased by 3.8 percent between July 2010 and June 2011, according to the Boulder-Denver-Greeley Consumer Price Index.
State economists came bearing gifts today, in the form of revenue estimates greater than projected in September. The governor's economists in the Office of State Planning and Budgeting raised their estimates by $231 million for this fiscal year and by $100 million next year.
In order to meet the challenges of the 21st century, American higher education must redesign itself through a fundamental transformation in policy, practice and financing. But in doing so, it can neither expect nor rely upon a restoration of past approaches or public support. That was the central message delivered by Patrick M. Callan, president of the Higher Education Policy Institute and the featured speaker at the Bell Policy Center's "Voices of Opportunity" program on Dec. 7.