A sign of relief for state budget

Three cheers may not be in order for the latest state budget numbers, released last Friday. But a collective sigh of relief certainly is. At least this wasn’t another instance in which the revenue forecast took another nosedive, and more state budget cuts are immediately required.

Colorado’s economy is still in rough water, and the revenue picture for the state over the next few years remains far from bright. Still, the luminosity meter was turned up a half notch or so last week.

The economic forecast released by the chief economist for the Colorado Legislative council boosted by $230 million the amount of revenue the state is projected to receive this fiscal year, which ends June 30.

As a result, state lawmakers won’t have to trim any additional funds from this year’s budget.

However, the Legislature will still have to trim an estimated $320 million from the budget that will be in place beginning July 1, and perhaps more the following year, based on the latest forecasts.

Even so, the latest budget projections are welcome news, the first significant uptick on the state’s revenue chart, where the line has been trending steadily downward for more than 18 months.

The reasons for the uptick offer additional reasons for hope: Corporate profits and the taxes companies pay were up significantly over what was predicted as recently as December. So was individual income tax revenue. Consumer spending is rebounding, according to the economist, and unemployment appears to have stabilized.

Like millions of other Coloradans, we sincerely hope these numbers represent the beginning of a long-term trend.


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