The General Assembly opened its 69th session on Wednesday, a mostly ceremonial day that featured speeches from the majority and minority leaders outlining their broad goals and policy objectives for the 120-day session.
A government watchdog group gave the Legislature an "F" this year for not crafting policy that aligns with the will of Colorado taxpayers.
The Colorado Union of Taxpayers said that despite facing an economic downturn, lawmakers passed a budget this year that is 2.6 percent higher than the previous year's budget. The group said that the majority of lawmakers voted in favor of tax and fee hikes, which does not mesh with the desire of taxpayers.
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The Bell outlines its priorities for the 2008 legislative session; Lawmakers agree with the Bell, defeat effort to deny stipends for basic skills; Center for Responsible Lending urges 36 percent payday cap/Other states tackle payday 'debt trap' with interest rate cap; States continue to enact and expand Earned Income Tax Credits
Three Colorado nonprofits today released Looking Forward: Colorado???s fiscal prospects after Referendum C, a new report that gives Colorado citizens a baseline about future fiscal conditions for state government.
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Analysts from the Bell Policy Center, Colorado Children's Campaign and Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute focus on FY 2007-08 through FY 2012-13 ? – the last three years of the Referendum C time-out and the first three years of the new Ref C revenue cap. Looking Forward projects revenues and expenditures for the five largest state agencies, analyzes the effects of TABOR, the Arveschoug-Bird 6 percent spending formula and the varying forces that drive spending, agency by agency.
The Bell Policy Center says the announcement by Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff to begin televised coverage of the House of Representatives reflects recommendations made by the Bell in its August 2006 Blueprint for Opportunity report.
The Colorado Legislature and Gov. Bill Ritter worked together this year to pass dozens of bills that improve the state of opportunity for thousands of Coloradans, says Wade Buchanan, president of the Bell Policy Center. "The 2007 session will be remembered as a strong push for opportunity," Buchanan said. "Legislators worked hard to pass bills that prepare our kids to compete in the global economy and help families join and stay in the middle class."
Passage of Referendum C in 2005 was a wonderful victory for fiscal sanity in Colorado, but it is only temporary. The state's resources still are extremely limited compared to future needs. So it is time to start talking about the post-Ref C world.