Lawmakers received good news about the state's economy on Monday as economists from the legislature and the governor's office presented positive forecasts to the Joint Budget Committee (JBC).
Colorado's economy continues to outperform the national economy as we experience a growth in jobs, an improving housing market and increasing retail sales, especially automobiles. It is "among the most vibrant in the nation," according to the Legislative Council Staff.
Economists gave state lawmakers good news about Colorado's economy and state revenues in their quarterly forecasts to the Joint Budget Committee today.
Colorado's economy is growing at a steady pace and is outperforming the U.S. economy. In fact, it was growing faster during the summer months than previously thought. The data used for the September forecast has been revised upward, showing stronger growth in jobs and income, according to Natalie Mullis, the Legislative Council Staff's chief economist.
State revenues are expected to grow over the next two fiscal years and will be higher than projected in March, economists told the Joint Budget Committee today.
Even with this relatively strong growth, revenues are only now returning to pre-recession levels. In fact, the Office of State Planning and Budgeting stated, "Despite the growth, state general fund revenue is nearly $1 billion less (when adjusted for inflation) than it was five years ago."
State revenues are expected to be $116 million higher this fiscal year than projected in December, according to legislative economists. When coupled with cuts and actions already taken by the legislature to balance the budget this session, the state is projected to end the current fiscal year with a $447 million surplus. By law, these funds will be transferred to the State Education Fund.
Legislative economists expect revenues to be $99 million higher in fiscal year 2011-12, which will help to reduce the projected shortfall.