Difference between revisions of "Colorado state budget"

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(Fiscal Year 2013 State Budget)
(Fiscal Year 2012 State Budget)
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The proposal includes a rainy day reserve fund of 5 percent of the general fund, or $387.3 million. For FY2013, the budget provided a 4 percent reserve, which covered two weeks of operating expenses.  Increasing the fund to 5 percent would represent 18 days of operating expenses.<ref name=release/>
The proposal includes a rainy day reserve fund of 5 percent of the general fund, or $387.3 million. For FY2013, the budget provided a 4 percent reserve, which covered two weeks of operating expenses.  Increasing the fund to 5 percent would represent 18 days of operating expenses.<ref name=release/>
==Fiscal Year 2012 State Budget==
* '''See past [[Archived Colorado state budgets|state budgets]]'''
Governor [[John Hickenlooper|John Hickenlooper]] signed the $18 billion long form FY2012 budget on May 6, 2011.<ref name=inks/>  The General Fund for FY2012, contained in SB11-209, including appropriations by individual agencies, can be found [http://www.leg.state.co.us/CLICS/CLICS2011A/csl.nsf/lbcontainer/SB11-209?OpenDocument here].  The legislature passed other, related bills to balance the budget, which Colorado's Constitution requires.<ref name=dbj>[http://assets.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2011/05/06/hickenlooper-signs-budget-bill-into-law.html Denver Business Journal "Hickenlooper signs budget bill into law" May 6, 2011]</ref> The general fund totals approximately $7 billion.<ref>[http://www.denverpost.com/legislature/ci_19589869 The Denver Post "Colorado's improving budget forecast spreads holiday cheer" Dec. 21, 2011]</ref>
The budget reduced state aid to K-12 schools by $250 million and higher education funding by $36 million.<ref name=dbj/> It also makes cuts to state agencies across the board, and transfers drilling and mining taxes from local governments.  The budget merged two parts of the Department of Natural Resources - the Division of Wildlife and Colorado State Parks, and it is possible a few state parks may be closed.  It also calls for the closure of a state prison.<ref name=signs>[http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2011/05/06/business-us-colorado-budget_8454218.html Forbes "Colorado gov signs $18 billion budget into law" May 6, 2011]</ref>
Hickenlooper signed SB 230 on June 9, 2011, which cut state education funding by an additional $225 million.<ref>[http://durangoherald.com/article/20110610/NEWS01/706109889/-1/s The Durango Herald "Governor signs off on school cuts" June 9, 2011]</ref>
The FY2012 budget repealed two taxes: sales taxes on online software sales, and sales taxes on agricultural products such as fertilizers and animal medicine. It also retains a retailer sales-tax rebate that Democrats had wanted to suspend.<ref name=signs/>  The budget enacts an"Amazon" tax to force out-of-state internet sellers of products to help collect use tax from Colorado residents.<ref>[http://www.eptrail.com/ci_18050873?source=most_viewed Estes Park Trail "Denver finished with lawmaking" May 12, 2011]</ref>
For FY2012, Colorado devoted 28.9% of its total spending to K-12 education, up from 27.9% in FY2009.<ref>[http://www.statebudgetsolutions.org/publications/detail/throwing-money-at-education-isnt-working State Budget Solutions "Throwing Money At Education Isn't Working" Sept. 12, 2012]</ref>
!Fiscal Year
!Total Spending<ref>[http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart_1997_2017AKb_13s1li111mcn_F0t USGovernmentSpending.com "Colorado Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012]</ref>
!Education Spending<reF>[http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart_1997_2017ALb_13s1li111mcn_20t http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/spending_chart_1997_2017ALb_13s1li111mcn_20t USGovernmentSpending.com "Colorado Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012]</ref>
! Percent Education Spending
|2009|| $44.5 billion ||$12.9 billion || 28.9%
|2010|| $46.4 billion||$12.1 billion||26.0%
|2011|| $46.1 billion||$12.2 billion||26.4%
|2012|| $46.1 billion||$12.9 billion||27.9%
The Denver Post, however, reported that K-12 school funding accounted for more than 40 percent of the state's general fund.<ref>[http://www.denverpost.com/legislature/ci_18801464 The Denver Post "Study says Colorado budget outlook worse than thought and cutting alone won't fix it" Sept. 1, 2011]</ref>  The budget as originally passed included cuts to education, but in Dec. 2011, Gov. Hickenlooper said he was hopeful that higher than anticipated revenue projections meant that $89 million in funding could be restored to K-12 education.<ref>[http://www.denverpost.com/legislature/ci_19589869 The Denver Post "Colorado's improving budget forecast spreads holiday cheer" Dec. 21, 2011]</ref>
Higher education was supposed to be cut by $60 million, but with revenue reports in December higher than anticipated, Gov. Hickenlooper expressed hope that the cuts could be halved to $30 million, with $25 million of the funding proposed to be restored to higher education would go to student financial aid.<ref>[http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9ROVCS80.htm Businessweek]</reF>
===Legislative Proposed Budget===
The Colorado House gave final approval to $18,000,000,000.00 budget bill on April 14, 2011.  Lawmakers balanced the budget by cutting $250 million from K-12 education, cutting other state agencies across the board, and by taking drilling and mining taxes from local governments.  The House budget is substantially similar to the Senate version passed a few days prior.  Both the House and Senate agreed with the Governor on closing a prison to save money, though lawmakers delayed the closure by six months. They also agreed with the governor on boosting the state's reserve fund.<ref>[Businessweek "Colorado House gives final approval to $18B budget" April 14, 2011]</ref>
The [[Joint Budget Committee, Colorado General Assembly|Joint Budget Committee]] agreed a budget compromise on April 5, 2011. The $7 billion budget called for $250 million in cuts to K-12 education, nearly $100 million less than the governor had proposed, and it also restores two tax exemptions that had been suspended last year.  It also reduced the state’s proposed collection of vendor fees by two-thirds and end collection outright after three years, reducing the state's an estimated revenue for each of the next three years to $20 million, down from the $60 million it would have raised each years under the governor’s proposal.<ref>[http://www.chieftain.com/news/local/accord-reached-on-state-budget/article_3b7502aa-6006-11e0-b1aa-001cc4c002e0.html The Pueblo Chieftan "Accord reached on state budget" April 5, 2011]</ref>
===Governor's Proposed Budget===
Then Governor Ritter presented his proposed budget to the state legislature's [[Joint Budget Committee, Colorado General Assembly|Joint Budget Committee]] on Nov. 2, 2010.<ref name=unveils>[http://www.denverpost.com/legislature/ci_16504177 The Denver Post "Ritter unveils $19.1 billion budget for Colorado in 2011-12" Nov. 3, 2010]</ref>  The committee will draft its own budget and the legislature will vote in March 2011.<Ref>[http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9JDH0000.htm Businessweek "Colorado governor: More tough budget cuts expected" Nov. 10, 2010]</ref> Months later, Gov. Hickenlooper took office and proposed his own state budget on Feb. 15, 2011.<ref name=hits>[http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_17394230 The Denver Post "Hickenlooper's state budget hits education, parks and prisons" Feb. 15, 2011]</ref>
Gov. Hickenlooper's budget cut an additional $570 million on top of the plan that Gov. Bill Ritter in November 2010.<ref name=hits/>  Ritter's proposed FY2012 state budget included $7.6 billion in general fund dollars, $6.3 billion in cash funds and another $5.1 billion in federal funds.<ref name=feeling>[http://www.coloradostatesman.com/content/992301-state-budget-feeling-pinch-with-end-federal-dollars The Colorado Statesman "State budget feeling the pinch with end of federal dollars" Nov. 10, 2010]</ref>  It was almost $1 billion more than the  FY2011 state budget.<ref name=unveils/> The budget covers a projected $715 million revenue deficit.<ref name=smokers>[http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9J86MLG0.htm Businessweek "Colorado smokers, parks take proposed budget hit" Nov. 2, 2010]</ref> Before the governor submitted his budget, Democrats predicted that cuts to public education would be necessary as Republicans said they expected funding for prisons and tourism promotion to be reduced.<Ref name=gap>[http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9IN3Q800.htm Businessweek "Colo. ed, prison cuts expected to help budget gap" Oct. 7, 2010]</ref>
* '''Education'''
The biggest change from Ritter's budget is that Hickenlooper proposed a $375 million reduction to public schools, including a $257 million reduction in general fund support for education and Hickenlooper's decision to not fill a $117 million reduction in local share funding caused by decreases in assessed values.<ref name=hits/>  Those decisions would result in a $332 million net reduction over funding for K-12 in the current year, or $497 less per kid, which is the biggest hit to K-12 education funding in state history.<ref name=hits/> 
Other cuts in Hickenlooper's budget included cutting an additional $36 million from state support for higher education, cutting funding for colleges down to $519 million.<ref name=hits/>
* '''State Employees'''
The proposed budget decreased payroll funding for departments by 2 percent, saving nearly $10 million.  For current employees, the budget did not include a  pay raise for the third year in a row.<ref name=unveils/>  Under Hickenlooper's budget, state employees would also contribute  4.5% of their pay to cover the state's contribution to the pension fund.<Ref name=hits/> 
Tax breaks were not eliminated under the proposed budget.<ref name=unveils/>
*'''State Parks'''
Hickenlooper's budget would close four state parks.<ref name=hits/>  Under Ritter's proposed budget, park fees would increase by $1/day.<ref name=unveils/>
The governor said he would honor an agreement giving workers limited bargaining rights and has invited employees to submit ideas for cutting waste and inefficiencies.  While some unions were fine with the governor's actions, teacher unions were not pleased with the deep cuts that Hickenlooper has proposed to education funding in the state.<ref>[http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/25/AR2011022501888.html?sid=ST2011022503367 The Washington Post "Democratic governors try to enlist labor's help in dealing with budget crises" Feb. 25, 2011]</ref>
==Budget transparency==
==Budget transparency==

Revision as of 13:33, 16 April 2014

Colorado state budget

Flag of Colorado.png
Budget calendar:  Annual
Fiscal year:  2013
Date signed:  May 7, 2012
Other state budgets
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Colorado operates on an annual budget cycle. Its fiscal year begins July 1.

Colorado's total budget for FY2013 was approximately $20 billion. Lawmakers controlled only a portion of that budget, and that portion included the $7.4 billion General Fund that lawmakers approved in April 2012.[1] Governor John Hickenlooper signed the state budget into law on May 7, 2012.[2] It increases spending more than 6 percent over the prior year.[3]

As of August 2012, Colorado had a total state debt of approximately $78,514,721, when calculated by adding the total of outstanding official debt, pension and other post-employment benefits (OPEB) liabilities, Unemployment Trust Fund loans, and FY2013 budget gap.[4] The debt total is less than the prior year's total of $80,386,294,000.[5]

As of October 2012, Colorado's total state debt per capita was $15,344.51.[6]

See also: The Colorado State Budget on State Budget Solutions

Federal Aid to State Budget

The chart below represents how much of the state’s budget comes from the federal government. The number is the corresponding ranking in relation to the rest of the nation (if #1, the state receives the highest percentage of federal funding in the nation):

State 2008 2009 2010 2011
Colorado 25.29% (#40) 28.89% (#40) 32.41% (#40) 32.05% (#38)
  • Figures were calculated by dividing each state’s intergovernmental revenue into its general revenue.[7][8]

Fiscal Year 2014 State Budget

On Nov. 1, 2012, Governor John Hickenlooper presented his proposed $20.3 billion FY2014 state budget.[9] The governor's budget proposal can be found here.

Under the governor's proposed budget, total spending would increase by 5.4 percent over FY2013, with healthcare spending seeing the largest increase.[9] The plan did not make any major cuts.[10]

Under the proposed budget, the state general fund would increase to $8.1 billion next year, up from about $7.6 billion in FY2013. The state's total funds budget, including the general fund, cash funds and federal money, would grow to $21.9 billion, an increase of $1.1 billion[10], which is 5.5 percent.[11]

Spending increases in the proposed budget include:

  • $213 million more for K-12 education, an increase of 4.8 percent, the equivalent of a $185 per pupil, over the current year.[9] It would bring the K-12 education budget to $3 billion, the largest part of the general fund.[10]
  • $68.3 million , or 2.3 percent, more for higher education, as well as permission for colleges to increase tuition by 9 percent.[9]
  • $57.8 million for aa 1.5 percent pay increase for state employees, who have not had a raise in 4 years. The governor, though, proposes that state employees split the cost of increases in health, life and dental and insurance costs.[9]
  • $2 million more on tourism, including a $500,000 campaign to give Colorado a "unified branding platform."[9]

The proposal includes a rainy day reserve fund of 5 percent of the general fund, or $387.3 million. For FY2013, the budget provided a 4 percent reserve, which covered two weeks of operating expenses. Increasing the fund to 5 percent would represent 18 days of operating expenses.[11]

Budget transparency

See also: Evaluation of Colorado state website or Constitutional provisions regarding reading of bills

Article 5, Section 22 of the state constitution requires that the title of the bill be read when introduced, and at length on two different days in each house and full bill and amendments must be printed before final vote. It also requires votes in each house on two separate days.

On June 4, 2009, Governor Ritter signed Colorado House Bill 1288, the "Colorado Taxpayer Transparency Act," into law. The law required the creation of an online spending database.[12]

Government tools

The following table is helpful in evaluating the level of transparency provided by a state spending and transparency database:

Criteria for evaluating spending databases
State Database Searchability Grants Contracts Line Item Expenditures Dept/Agency Budgets Public Employee Salary
Colorado T.O.P. P
600px-Yes check.png
  • Expenditures are not searchable, but rather navigable by three search methods.
  • Grants are viewable as an expenditure category.
  • Contracts are posted and searchable through a Contract Management System that is linked to from the Transparency Online Project.[13]
  • Department and agency budgets are available through the Governor's Office of State Planning and Budgeting, which is linked to via the Transparency Online Project webpage.[14]
  • Personnel costs to agencies and departments are viewable as expenditures, but only as total amounts. Individual employee salaries are not available.

Transparency Legislation

  • In May 2011, the legislature enacted SB11-184 requiring the Colorado Department of Revenue to create an annual tax expenditure report by Jan. 1, 2013.[15]

Multi-Measure Budget Transparency Profile

The Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois has created a multi-measure transparency profile for Colorado, which measures state transparency as of September 2011 using indicators from a range of organizations, including Sunshine Review. These indicators measure both website transparency and other recognized facets of governmental transparency. In addition, IGPA presents four unique indicators of non-transparency based on the observation that transfers or reassignments between general and special funds can obscure the true fiscal condition of a state.

In addition to the individual state profile, IGPA offers a 50-state comparison and profiles for other states.

U.S. PIRG Following the Money report

See also: Following the Money 2014 Report

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.[16] 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.[16]

Budget background

Colorado’s state revenue increased annually 1.9 percent for the period from FY 1999 to FY 2009 while three of its largest General Fund appropriations (K-12, Corrections, and Health) grew 5.4% each year on average. These three spending categories have grown from 54% of the General Fund budget in 1999 to 76% within a decade. They are estimated to increase their portion of the budget to 91% in five years.[17]

Colorado's fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30. State departments submit their budget proposals to the Governor's Office of State Planning and Budgeting as part of the executive budget process. The governor and his staff review the budget proposals and limit each department's budget request based on the governor's priorities, and they determine which new funding initiatives may be included in the request.[18] Departments submit budgets to the Joint Budget Committee by November 1. Shortly thereafter the committee schedules hearings with each agency. The staff analysts brief the Committee on each budget request a few days prior to the hearing with a department. Briefings and hearings for most departments are scheduled in November and December. By February 1, the Legislature is required to certify, by joint resolution, the amount from the state's General Fund available for appropriation for the next fiscal year. Once the General Assembly convenes in early January a series of hearings and joint budget meetings that run both through the House and the Senate. Both houses must accept the final bill before it is signed into law.[19]

See Colorado state budget (2008-2009) for more information.

General Fund Revenue Collections: FY 08-09 compared to FY 07-08[20]

FY 2008 FY 2009 Percent Change
Individual Income $4,974 $4,424 -11.1%
Corporate Income 507.9 350.9 -30.9%
Excise/Sales Taxes 2,411 2,265 -6.0%
Other 258.1 246.4 -4.5%
Total 8,151 7,287 -10.5%

All figures are in millions and include revenues collected for State Education Fund, based on March 2009 forecast.

Accounting principles

See also: Colorado government accounting principles

Office of the State Auditor reports to The Legislative Audit Committee. The Legislative Audit Committee (LAC) is a permanent standing committee comprised of four senators and four representatives with equal representation from the two major political parties. The Committee is responsible for reviewing and releasing audit reports and recommending special studies. The LAC also recommends an appointment for State Auditor to the leadership of the General Assembly every five years. Sally Symanski is Colorado’s state auditor. Audit reports are published online.[21]

Credit Rating Fitch Moody's S&P
Colorado[22] NR Aa3 AA


Between February 2009 and June 2013, Colorado received $4,698,530,000.00 in federal funding.[23]

Public Employees

See also: Colorado public employee salaries]]
See also: Colorado public pensions]]

According to 2008 Census data, the state of Colorado and local governments in the state employed a total of 320,650 people.[24] Of those employees, 227,729 were full-time employees receiving a net pay of $971,010,148 per month and 92,921 were part-time employees paid $113,456,631 per month.[24] More than 56% of those employees, or 180,041 employees, were in education or higher education.[24]

See also

External links

Additional reading


  1. The Aurora Sentinel "Lawmakers finish work on Colorado budget" April 27, 2012
  2. KRDO.com May 7, 2012
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named rdo
  4. State Budget Solutions "State Budget Solutions' third annual State Debt Report shows total state debt over $4 trillion" Aug. 28, 2012
  5. State Budget Solution “Report reveals aggregate state debt exceeds $4 trillion” Oct. 24, 2011
  6. State Budget Solutions "State debt more than $37,000 per private worker, $13,000 per capita" Oct. 2, 2012
  7. US Census Federal Aid to State and Local Governments
  8. Tax Foundation' "Monday Map: Federal Aid to State Budgets. Accessed October 15, 2013
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 The Denver Post "Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper proposes $20.3 billion budget for 2013-14" Nov. 1, 2012
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 CBSNews.com "CO budget plan focuses on investments, not cuts" Nov. 2, 2012
  11. 11.0 11.1 Governor's Press Release "Proposed budget for FY 2013-14 boosts funding for education, economic development and restores cuts for critical state services" Nov. 1, 2012
  12. Colorado Taxpayer Transparency Act
  13. State of Colorado - Contract Management System
  14. Office of State Planning and Budgeting
  15. HOUSE BILL 11-1104
  16. 16.0 16.1 U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
  17. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named tsun
  18. State of Colorado,"Budget Process and schedule," accessed March 19,2009
  19. State of Colorado, "The role of the Joint Budget Committee in the budget process," accessed March 19, 2009
  20. Tomlinson & Associates, “2009 Colorado General Assembly Legislative Session Review,” June 6, 2009
  21. Office of the State Auditor Web site, retrieved October 11, 2009
  22. "State of Indiana," “State Credit Ratings-as of June 24, 2009
  23. Recovery, "Stimulus Spending by State"
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Colorado Public Employment Data