Lawmakers received good news on the economic and budget fronts this morning.
State economists now estimate that the Colorado economy will continue to grow, albeit slowly, and generate enough revenue to maintain a balanced General Fund budget this year and next. This is a change from recent years, when the legislature and governor faced declining revenues and the need to make budget cuts.
The Legislative Council staff's June economic forecast, released last week, shows Colorado continuing "to suffer through one of its worst downturns in over 50 years." Unemployment reached a two-decade high – Colorado's rate was 7.6 percent in May – and the council's economists expect things to worsen. Their forecast shows the average unemployment rate rising to 9.6 percent in 2010.