STATE BILL COLORADO
Colorado’s economy is showing solid signs of a slow recovery but growth “will feel anemic,” legislative economists today told the state’s Joint Budget Committee in a quarterly briefing.
“After two years of job losses, the state’s private sector began adding workers in June and July,” the state’s forecast narrative reads. “Other indicators point to expansion as well, but the recovery is being weighed down by heavy debt and struggling real estate and banking sectors. Growth will feel anemic until at least the middle of next year. Once the expansion gains solid footing, Colorado’s economy is expected to again outperform the nation.”
The report notes that the the FY 2010-11 General Fund budget is out of balance.
“Revenue will be sufficient to allow $96.1 million, or 1.4 percent of General Fund appropriations, to remain in the reserve at the close of the year.”
The full forecast is published below, along with a forecast from Colorado’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting.
Meanwhile, Gov. Bill Ritter issued the following statement:
GOV. RITTER STATEMENT ON TODAY’S ECONOMIC FORECASTS
Gov. Bill Ritter issued the following statement regarding today’s quarterly economic and revenue forecasts, which show the need for additional budget cutting and balancing in the current fiscal year:
“Today’s forecasts are a clear reminder that Colorado’s economic recovery is not nearly as robust as Coloradans want or need. Economic growth remains volatile and sluggish, and Colorado families and businesses are not yet seeing healthy, sustainable or certain growth in their bottom lines, while government agencies also continue to face difficult budgets.
“Since the recession started, my office and the legislature have cut spending and closed shortfalls of $4.4 billion. Today’s forecasts mean we face even more difficult and unenviable decisions ahead to keep the budget balanced – and we’ll be making those decisions from a list of options that has grown shorter and shorter since the recession hit.
“We will do what we can to minimize pain and protect essential services. We’ll continue to employ a strategy of shared sacrifice and solutions, and we are going to remain aggressive about economic development so Colorado is well-positioned for a strong, sustainable and healthy recovery.
“As challenging as today’s forecasts are, the fact remains that the economy is better off today than it was a year ago. We are seeing positive signs – consumer spending is growing, new claims for unemployment insurance are down and people are reducing their debt levels – and we are well-positioned for sustainable growth in the months ahead.”
After the Governor’s Office reviews the forecasts, the Governor will announce a plan to close the FY10-11 shortfall by the end of October. At the same time, the Governor’s Office is preparing to submit a proposed FY11-12 budget to the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee on Nov. 1.
In other coverage:
Associated Press: Gov. Bill Ritter may be forced to cut another $189 million from Colorado’s budget because of a sluggish economic recovery and lower-than-expected revenues.
Denver Post: In total, in order to remain legally balanced in the current, 2010-11 fiscal year, the state will have to fill up to a $256.9 million hole. Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat, already filled a nearly $60 million deficit in the current year, relying largely on one-time measures such as tapping cash funds. Now he must bridge an even bigger gap. “We will work as quickly as possible to craft a re-balancing plan,” said Evan Dreyer, Ritter’s spokesman.