Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Experts agree, Colorado is 'Lean Below the Mean'

Coloradans enjoy living in one of the thinnest states in the country when it comes to waistlines.  However, that lean mentality is more troubling when it comes to our state budget's bottom line.  That concern is creating an important dialogue about revenue in 2011.

Recently the Denver Post assembled a bipartisan panel of former lawmakers, and asked them to come up with a plan to address the state's $1 billion shortfall.  You can read the full report, but the abridged version involves "third rail" options, and topping the list is new taxes.  Colorado's revenue problem was also the theme at the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute's Budget Works conference last week.

Whether it's education, Medicaid, or just making sure we have safe roads to drive on, Colorado ranks well bellow the average when it comes to state spending (hence Lean Below the Mean).  The Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute put together a comprehensive, yet approachable, look at our state's spending, and how it relates to others.  As you'll see in the report, Colorado is already about as lean as it gets in terms of state spending.

As another huge budget hole looms in 2011, it's important to start thinking about how long we can keep cutting our way to balanced budgets, and what Colorado looks like after we're finished.

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