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Colorado state budget and finances

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Colorado budget and finances
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General information
Budget calendar:
Annual
Fiscal year:
2015
State credit rating:
AA (as of 2014)
Current governor:
John Hickenlooper
Financial figures
Total spending (state and federal funds):
$30.3 billion (estimated for 2014)
Per capita spending:
$5,655 (estimated for 2014)
Total state tax collections:
$11.2 billion (2013)
Per capita tax collections:
$2,133 (2013)
State debt:
$86.9 billion (as of 2014)
Per capita state debt:
$16,748 (as of 2014)
State budgets and finances
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Total state expendituresState debtTax policy in Colorado
Note: This page utilizes information from a variety of sources. As such, the currency of the information varies somewhat. The information presented on this page reflects the most recent data available as of February 2015.
Between fiscal years 2013 and 2014, total government spending in Colorado increased by approximately $1.8 billion, from $28.5 billion in fiscal year 2013 to an estimated $30.3 billion in 2014. This represents a 6.3 percent increase. The cumulative rate of inflation during the same period was 1.58 percent, calculated using the Consumer Price Indices for January 2013 and January 2014. As of 2014, financial services firm Standard and Poor's had assigned Colorado a AA credit rating.[1][2][3]
In fiscal year 2014, total estimated spending in Colorado amounted to $30.3 billion. In 2013 Colorado dedicated 26 percent of its budget to K-12 education.

Spending

Definitions

The information below comes from the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO). These spending figures are broken into three broad categories in order to facilitate comparison between the states.[3]

  • State funds: State funds include general and other state-based funds. A general fund is "the predominant fund for financing a state's operations." Other state funds are "restricted by law for particular governmental functions or activities."
  • Federal funds: Federal funds are "funds received directly from the federal government."
  • Total spending: Total spending is calculated by adding together the totals for state and federal funds.

These figures exclude spending from the sale of bonds.

2014 expenditures

See also: Total state expenditures

The table below breaks down estimated spending totals for fiscal year 2014 (comparable figures from surrounding states are included to provide additional context). Figures for all columns except "Population” and “Per capita spending" are rendered in millions of dollars (for example, $2,448 translates to $2,448,000,000). Figures in the columns labeled "Population” and “Per capita spending" have not been abbreviated.[3]

In 2013 total estimated spending in Colorado was $30.3 billion, highest among its neighboring states. Colorado's estimated per capita spending was $5,655.

Total estimated state spending, FY 2014 ($ in millions)
State State funds Federal funds Total spending Population Per capita spending
Colorado $22,531 $7,756 $30,287 5,355,866 $5,654.92
Idaho $4,530 $2,814 $7,344 1,634,464 $4,493.22
Montana $4,039 $2,149 $6,188 1,023,579 $6,045.45
Utah $9,263 $3,644 $12,907 2,942,902 $4,385.81
Wyoming $5,563 $2,082 $7,645 584,153 $13,087.32
Per capita figures are calculated by taking the state's total spending and dividing by the number of state residents according to United States Census estimates.[4]
Source: National Association of State Budget Officers

Spending by function

See also: State spending by function as a percent of total expenditures
Breakdown of spending by function in FY 2013
Source: National Association of State Budget Officers

State spending in Colorado can be further broken down by function (elementary and secondary education, public assistance, etc.). Fiscal year 2013 information is included in the table below (information from neighboring states is provided for additional context). Figures are rendered as percents, indicating the share of the total budget spent per category.[3]

In 2013 Colorado dedicated the bulk of its budget to K-12 education, which amounted to 26 percent of spending. This was a higher percentage than any of its neighboring states.

State spending by function as a percent of total expenditures, FY 2013
State K-12 education Higher education Public assistance Medicaid Corrections Trans-
portation
Other
Colorado 26% 8.3% 0% 22% 2.6% 8.5% 32.6%
Idaho 24.2% 8.1% 0.2% 28% 3.8% 9.6% 25.9%
Montana 15.5% 10.1% 0.5% 17.9% 3.2% 11% 41.8%
Utah 23.6% 11.5% 0.6% 17.2% 2.1% 10.4% 34.6%
Wyoming 10.9% 4.8% 0% 6.6% 1.4% 6.4% 70%
Source: National Association of State Budget Officers
Note: "Other" expenditures include "Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), institutional and community care for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled, public health programs, employer contributions to pensions and health benefits, economic development, environmental projects, state police, parks and recreation, housing and general aid to local governments."[3]

Spending trends

Between 2009 and 2013, the portion of Colorado's budget dedicated to higher education decreased from 14.9 percent to 8.3 percent. Meanwhile, the portion dedicated to Medicaid increased from 14.1 percent to 22 percent. See the table below for further details (figures are rendered as percents, indicating the share of the total budget spent per category).[3][5][6][7][8]

Spending by function from 2009 to 2013 (as percents)
Year K-12 education Higher education Public assistance Medicaid Corrections Transportation Other
2013 26% 8.3% 0% 22% 2.6% 8.5% 32.6%
2012 25.3% 9.0% 0.0% 20.7% 2.7% 5.4% 36.9%
2011 23.9% 13.6% 0.0% 17.8% 2.4% 4.7% 37.5%
2010 24.7% 14.2% 0.0% 15.3% 2.6% 4.6% 38.6%
2009 25.7% 14.9% 0.0% 14.1% 3.0% 5.9% 36.5%
Source: National Association of State Budget Officers
Note: "Other" expenditures include "Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), institutional and community care for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled, public health programs, employer contributions to pensions and health benefits, economic development, environmental projects, state police, parks and recreation, housing and general aid to local governments."[3]

Revenues

2013 revenues

See also: State government tax collections by source

The table below breaks down state government tax collections by source in 2013 (comparable figures from surrounding states are also provided to give additional context). Figures for all columns except "population" and "per capita revenue" are rendered in thousands of dollars (for example, $2,448 translates to $2,448,000). Figures in the columns labeled "population" and "per capita revenue" have not been abbreviated).[9]

Colorado's total revenue collections in 2013 amounted to $11.2 billion, highest among its neighboring states. Its per capita revenue collections were the lowest among its neighboring states at $2,133.

State tax collections by source ($ in thousands)
State Property taxes Sales and gross receipts Licenses Individual income taxes Corporation net income taxes Other taxes Total 2013 population Per capita collections
Colorado N/A $4,279,544 $637,707 $5,528,485 $652,180 $147,746 $11,245,662 5,272,086 $2,133.06
Idaho N/A $1,773,270 $306,627 $1,292,562 $200,340 $6,294 $3,579,093 1,612,843 $2,219.12
Montana $262,313 $558,961 $320,858 $1,045,500 $170,999 $285,979 $2,644,610 1,014,864 $2,605.88
Utah N/A $2,739,916 $294,174 $2,852,088 $330,684 $112,050 $6,328,912 2,902,787 $2,180.29
Wyoming $331,899 $826,387 $155,241 N/A N/A $872,527 $2,186,054 583,223 $3,748.23
Source: Tax Policy Center, "State Tax Collection Sources 2000-2013," June 20, 2014
Colorado tax collections by source in 2013
Source: Tax Policy Center

The table below lists 2013 tax collections by source as percentages of total collections. Nearly half of Colorado's revenues, 49.2 percent, were generated by individual income taxes. Sales taxes and gross receipts generated the second-largest amount at 38.1 percent.[9]

State tax collections by source (as percentages)
State Property taxes Sales and gross receipts Licenses Individual income taxes Corporation net income taxes Other taxes
Colorado N/A 38.06% 5.67% 49.16% 5.80% 1.31%
Idaho N/A 49.55% 8.57% 36.11% 5.60% 0.18%
Montana 9.92% 21.14% 12.13% 39.53% 6.47% 10.81%
Utah N/A 43.29% 4.65% 45.06% 5.22% 1.77%
Wyoming 15.18% 37.80% 7.10% N/A N/A 39.91%
Source: Tax Policy Center, "State Tax Collection Sources 2000-2013," June 20, 2014

Current fiscal year budget

See also: Historic Colorado budget and finance information

Fiscal year 2015

DocumentIcon.jpg See budget bill: HB 14-1336

Governor John Hickenlooper announced his fiscal year 2015 budget proposal on November 1, 2013. Under the governor's proposal, total state spending for fiscal year 2015 would have equaled approximately $24.1 billion, including $9.0 billion in general fund expenditures. This represented a $1.07 billion increase (4.7 percent) over fiscal year 2014. Hickenlooper's proposed budget included a $102 million increase in higher education funding.[10]

On April 30, 2013, Hickenlooper signed into law the fiscal year 2015 budget, which totaled approximately $24.2 billion (including $9 billion in general fund spending). The enacted budget also included $7.2 billion in federal funding, $6.7 billion in funding received from fees, fines and other non-tax revenues, and $1.3 billion in transfers between state agencies.[10]

State debt

See also: State debt

According to a January 2014 report by the nonprofit organization State Budget Solutions, Colorado had a state debt of approximately $86.9 billion. Its state debt per capita was $16,748. The report revealed that state governments faced a combined $5.1 trillion in debt. The obligation amounted to $16,178 per capita in the nation.[11]

Total state debt, 2014
State Total state debt State debt per capita Per capita debt ranking
Colorado $86,879,414,000 $16,748 19
Idaho $15,094,322,000 $9,459 44
Montana $15,769,183,000 $15,689 22
Utah $35,727,752,000 $12,513 37
Wyoming $9,951,523,000 $17,265 18
Sources: State Budget Solutions, "State Budget Solutions' Fourth Annual State Debt Report," January 8, 2014

Public pensions

See also: Colorado public pensions and Colorado public employee salaries

A 2012 report from the Pew Center on the States noted that Colorado's pension system was funded at 66 percent at the close of fiscal year 2010, well below the 80 percent funding level experts recommend. Consequently, Pew designated the state's pension system as cause for "serious concern."[12]

Taken together, the funding ratio for the state's pension systems decreased from 75.99 percent in fiscal year 2007 to 64.22 percent in fiscal year 2012, a decrease of 11.77 percentage points, or 15.5 percent. Likewise, unfunded liabilities increased from just under $13 billion in fiscal year 2007 to nearly $22.8 billion in fiscal year 2012.[13][14]

Credit ratings

See also: State credit ratings

Credit rating agencies, such as Standard and Poor's, assign grades to states that take into account a state's ability to pay debts and the general health of the state's economy. Generally speaking, a higher credit rating indicates lower interest costs on the general obligation bonds states sometimes sell to investors in order to finance large-scale undertakings (e.g., road construction and other public works projects). This in turn results in lower interest costs, thereby lowering the cost to taxpayers.[15][16]

The table below lists the Standard and Poor's credit ratings for Colorado and surrounding states from 2004 to 2014. Standard and Poor's grades range from AAA, the highest available, to BBB, the lowest.[17]

State credit ratings, 2004 to 2014
State 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004
Colorado AA AA AA AA AA AA AA AA AA- AA- AA-
Idaho AA+ AA+ AA+ AA+ AA AA AA AA AA AA AA
Montana AA AA AA AA AA AA AA AA- AA- AA- AA-
Utah AAA AAA AAA AAA AAA AAA AAA AAA AAA AAA AAA
Wyoming AAA AAA AAA AAA AA+ AA+ AA+ AA AA AA AA
Source: Stateline: The Daily News Service of The Pew Charitable Trusts, "Infographic: S&P State Credit Ratings, 2001-2014," June 9, 2014

Federal aid to state budget

See also: Federal aid to state budgets

State governments receive aid from the federal government to fund a variety of joint programs, such as Medicaid. Federal aid varies considerably from state to state. For example, Mississippi received approximately $7.7 billion in federal aid in 2012, which accounted for more than 45 percent of the state's general revenues. By contrast, Alaska received roughly $2.9 billion in federal aid in 2012, just under 20 percent of the state's general revenues.[18]

The table below notes what share of Colorado’s general revenues came from the federal government in 2012. That year, Colorado received approximately $6.3 billion in federal aid, 28.8 percent of the state's total general revenues. Figures from surrounding states are provided for additional context.[18]

Federal aid to state budgets, 2012
State Total federal aid ($ in thousands) Federal aid as a % of general revenue Ranking
Colorado $6,310,538 28.84% 35
Idaho $2,479,094 34.90% 16
Montana $2,202,444 38.97% 6
Utah $4,481,494 31.61% 31
Wyoming $2,213,249 37.51% 8
Source: United States Census Bureau, "State Government Finances: 2012," accessed February 24, 2014

Stimulus

According to Recovery.gov, the official government website for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Colorado received $4,698,530,000.00 in federal funding between February 2009 and June 2013.[19]

Budget process

The state operates on an annual budget cycle. The sequence of key events in the budget process is as follows:[20][21]

  1. Budget instructions are sent to state agencies in April.
  2. Agencies submit their budget requests to the governor in August.
  3. Agency hearings are held in August and September.
  4. The governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature in November.
  5. The legislature typically adopts a budget in May for the new fiscal year beginning July 1.

Colorado is one of 44 states in which the governor has line item veto authority.[21]

The governor is legally required to submit a balanced budget to the legislature, which must in turn adopt a balanced budget.[21]

Agencies, offices and committees

The following standing committees in the Colorado General Assembly deal with budget and finance matters:

  1. Appropriations Committee, Colorado House of Representatives
  2. Appropriations Committee, Colorado State Senate
  3. Finance Committee, Colorado House of Representatives
  4. Finance Committee, Colorado State Senate

The Colorado Treasurer is the chief financial officer of Colorado and head of the Department of the Treasury. The treasurer oversees the state's investments and manages the revenues and disbursements of the state's bank account. The position is elected in midterm election years and is a partisan office.

The Colorado Controller is the state's accountant, managing the state's finances, payroll and tax accounting systems. The controller is appointed by the executive director of the Colorado Department of Personnel and Administration and is a nonpartisan office.

Studies and reports

U.S. PIRG "Following the Money" report

See also: "Following the Money" report, 2014

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending.[22] According to the report, Colorado received a grade of B and a numerical score of 86, indicating that Colorado was "advancing." in terms of transparency regarding state spending.[22]

Budget and finance ballot measures

See also: Spending and finance on the ballot and List of Colorado ballot measures

Ballotpedia has tracked 37 ballot measures relating to state and local budget and financial matters in Colorado.

  1. Colorado Bonded Indebtedness for State Highways, Measure 31 (1912)
  2. Colorado Bonded Indebtedness to Pay Outstanding Warrants, Referendum 1 (1908)
  3. Colorado Bonded Indebtedness to Pay Outstanding Warrants, Referendum 1 (1910)
  4. Colorado Custody and Management of Public Funds, Measure 29 (1912)
  5. Colorado Definition of Fee Initiative (2014)
  6. Colorado Education Funding and TABOR Rebates, Initiative 59 (2008)
  7. Colorado Fiscal Impact of Ballot Measures Initiative (2014)
  8. Colorado Fund for Psychopathic Hospital and Laboratory, Measure 6 (1920)
  9. Colorado Funds for Old Age Pensions, Measure 3 (1944)
  10. Colorado Funds for State Highway Commission, Measure 20 (1912)
  11. Colorado Funds for State Immigration Bureau, Measure 6 (1912)
  12. Colorado Horse Racetrack Limited Gaming Proceeds for K-12 Education, Amendment 68 (2014)
  13. Colorado Investing Public School Funds, Measure 7 (1916)
  14. Colorado Limitations on County Debts, Measure 28 (1912)
  15. Colorado Limits on State Expenditures, Measure 2 (1978)
  16. Colorado Motor Vehicle, Income, and Telecom Taxes, Proposition 101 (2010)
  17. Colorado Old Age Pensions Fund, Measure 2 (1946)
  18. Colorado Prison Spending, Referendum A (1995)
  19. Colorado Private and Public Ownership of Local Healthcare Services, Referendum A (1998)
  20. Colorado Property Taxes, Initiative 60 (2010)
  21. Colorado Public School Funding Initiative (2014)
  22. Colorado Recall Expenses Reimbursement Amendment, Referendum 2 (1988)
  23. Colorado Reports by Treasurer, Measure 3 (1974)
  24. Colorado Retention of Excess State Revenues, Referendum B (1998)
  25. Colorado School District Spending Requirements, Referendum J (2006)
  26. Colorado Sixty Years for Redemption of City Indebtedness, Measure 13 (1914)
  27. Colorado Spending Cap Amendment (1988)
  28. Colorado Spending Cap Amendment (1990)
  29. Colorado State Borrowing Act, Referendum D (2005)
  30. Colorado State Road Fund Increase for Highway Construction, Measure 7 (1914)
  31. Colorado State Spending, Referendum C (2005)
  32. Colorado State Transportation Project Financing, Referendum A (1999)
  33. Colorado State Trust Lands, Initiative 16 (1996)
  34. Colorado State and Local Debt Limitations, Initiative 61 (2010)
  35. Colorado Unemployment Compensation Insurance, Referendum D (1996)
  36. Colorado Video Lottery and Tourism Promotion, Initiative 33 (2003)
  37. Colorado Winter Olympic Games Funding and Tax, Measure 8 (1972)

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Colorado + budget"

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Colorado state budget news feed

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Contact information

Governor's Office of State Planning and Budgeting
200 E. Colfax, Room 111
Denver, CO 80203
Telephone: 303-866-3317
Fax: 303-866-3044

See also

External links

Additional reading

References

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "CPI Detailed Report Data for February 2014," accessed April 9, 2014
  2. InflationData.com, "Cumulative Inflation Calculator," February 28, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report: 2012-2014," accessed February 18, 2015
  4. United States Census Bureau, "State and County QuickFacts," accessed February 23, 2014
  5. National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009-2011," accessed February 24, 2014
  6. National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditures Report, 2010-2012," accessed February 24, 2014
  7. National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009," accessed February 24, 2014
  8. National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2008," accessed February 24, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 Tax Policy Center, "State Tax Collection Sources 2000-2013," June 20, 2014
  10. 10.0 10.1 National Association of State Budget Officers, "Summaries of Fiscal Year 2015 Proposed and Enacted Budgets," July 11, 2014
  11. State Budget Solutions, "State Budget Solutions' Fourth Annual State Debt Report," January 8, 2014
  12. Pew Center on the States "Widening Gap Update: Colorado," June 18, 2012
  13. Public Employees' Retirement Association of Colorado, "2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report," accessed October 31, 2013
  14. Fire and Police Pension Association of Colorado, "2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report," accessed October 31, 2013
  15. Stateline: The Daily News Service of The Pew Charitable Trusts, "Infographic: S&P State Credit Ratings, 2001-2012," July 13, 2012
  16. Bankrate, "The 6 states with the worst credit ratings," September 27, 2012
  17. Stateline: The Daily News Service of The Pew Charitable Trusts, "Infographic: S&P State Credit Ratings, 2001-2014," June 9, 2014
  18. 18.0 18.1 United States Census Bureau, "State Government Finances: 2012," accessed February 24, 2014
  19. Recovery.gov, "Stimulus Spending by State," accessed February 21, 2014
  20. National Conference of State Legislatures "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 National Association of State Budget Officers "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
  22. 22.0 22.1 U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014