Glimmer of hope

Colorado’s economy circa mid-2011 is a far cry from what it was in, say, 2006 and 2007. But it also doesn’t look quite as dismal as it did in 2009 and 2010.

In fact, according to Natalie Mullis, chief economist for the Legislative Council, non-farm employment and consumer spending in Colorado are growing faster than in most of the rest of the nation. And that’s good news for the state budget.

Both the Legislative Council and the governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting now project general fund revenues for the current fiscal year that ends this month will be millions of dollars more than what was projected as recently as March, according to the Bell Policy Center. No more state budget cuts will be necessary this year, and as much as $67 million in additional money is expected to be available for public education next year.

Mullis’ projections, as reported by The Daily Sentinel’s Charles Ashby, included several cautions. A still-struggling real estate market and slow growth in small and medium-sized businesses remain worrisome, she said. There is “evidence of a lot of imbalances in the economy that is going to slow that growth over the next several years.”

But Mullis also said, “We still have expectations for a growing economy with lots of evidence for a real economy that is beginning to get solid footing and gain momentum.”

That’s good news, not only for state budget planners, but for ordinary Coloradans, who may be looking for jobs or selling merchandise and services. It’s not a promise that good times are just around the corner, but a glimmer of hope that the worst of this Great Recession may be behind us.


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