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Legislative Updates

  • 01/06/2009 11:20 AM | Heidi Baker
    from Ann Maier
    Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute (COFPI)'s Carol Hedges packed an amazing amount of economic information into her presentation. The presentation with data indicating where Colorado stands and the income possibilities open for government-funded activities should be available through
    www.cclponline.org. Sagging economic indicators and falling revenue due to reliance on tax income in a depressed economy is clearly understandable. The counter cyclic demand of many human services includes rising demand for prisons, food stamps, Medicaid and unemployment benefits in depressed economic times. Comparisons to the recession of 2001 were presented as benchmarks for change and provide useful experience in planning wise choices for the present situation. Some of the same tactics including reductions in Statutory Reserves, Cash Balance Reductions, Revenue enhancement (fees) and cutbacks in areas of service could be needed. 
     
    Moe Keller, Chairwoman of the Joint Budget Committee presents a level head, plenty of experience and a sense of realistic optimism. Handling the economic down turn more than halfway through fiscal year 08-09 complicates planning for the '09-10 budget.  Cutbacks by the state are going to be strategically planned, not piecemeal or arbitrary reductions. Examples of lowering salaries, delaying some proposals not yet in place, impacts on some of the smaller state divisions are balanced by proactive planning to maximize access of Federal matches and the possibility of accessing the statutory reserve (not Tabor). News includes a federal increase in Medicaid funds and possible delay in opening of new prison; there are no possibilities that will not be considered for fiscal management in the present and immediate future. The increasing concern of Colorado placing last in the nation in support for higher education has the conversation about privatization returning to the table.
     
    Attention Positive Thinkers! What should happen includes our concerted effort to protect the safety net that feeds families and provides health care for the needy. Moving money to strategic investments that get and keep people working; people need to be wo rking to provide the tax base to pay for services.  Remember to think long term so that when economic recovery comes (and it will) we are a stronger and more just society.  Stay informed and advocate for the kind of Colorado you want to see, http://coloradopolicymatters.blogspot.com/

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