State’s revenue projections fall; budget cuts loom

State budget drafters said Friday they expect state revenues to fall $600 million short of their original projection for the next fiscal year.

The reversal of fortune means the Colorado Legislature must dig deeper and scoop more fat out of the fiscal year 2009-2010 budget. The legislative session begins Jan. 6.

The Colorado Legislative Council revealed its quarterly economic and revenue forecast for the state Friday. It adjusted revenue estimates for fiscal year 2008-2009 downward by 6.1 percent, or $627 million, from its previous report in September.

Todd Herreid, the Legislature’s chief economist, said the downturn is due to the economic recession and lower employment projections.

How to deal with the ballooning financial crises?

“It is up to the Legislature to address that,” he said.

Rep. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, said the revised numbers are going to require some tough decisions.

“It’s all about jobs,” King said. “The sooner we start dealing with that, the quicker we come out of any recession.”

On Thursday, the day before the nonpartisan legislative council made its announcement, Gov. Bill Ritter’s office announced its 2009 economic proposals. Job creation was at the top of the list.

“Families are struggling. Companies are having trouble getting needed capital or credit to keep their doors open,” the governor said in a news release. “These proposals will make Colorado more competitive for new jobs.”

A month earlier the governor proposed a $19.2 billion budget for fiscal year 2009-2010.

King said the next legislative session could be challenging.

“We’ve got plenty of work to do,” King said. “Overcoming that ($600 million) number requires everything to be negotiable, everything to be on the table. I don’t think you can go into this with any sacred cow.”


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