Looking Forward: Colorado's fiscal prospects after Referendum C
In November 2005, Colorado voters passed Referendum C, giving the state a five-year “timeout” from the revenue limits established by the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). The current Colorado state budget (July 2007 through June 2008) is the third of five budgets to operate under that time-out, and the legislative Joint Budget Committee is working on the fourth. Many Coloradans are starting to ask what should happen next.
Where did Referendum C get us as a state? Where are we headed looking forward, and is that actually where we want to go?
We believe the best way forward is to first make sure we have good information so voters can make good decisions. The purpose of this report is to provide that information. Looking Forward projects state revenues and expenditures through 2013, a six-year period that includes the last three years of the Referendum C time-out and the first three years of the new Ref C revenue cap.
Specifically, this report attempts to answer the following questions:
- How much revenue will the state collect in each of the next six years with existing taxes?
- How much will the state need to spend in each of the next six years to maintain 2007 levels of service?
- Is there a gap between these projected revenues and projected expenditures? If so, how big is it?
- How do constitutional and statutory budgeting provisions affect the situation? Our goal is to compile one reliable set of projections about future fiscal conditions as a common baseline from which to define challenges, inform public debate and guide decisions.
Download the full report by clicking the link below.
Released December 2007
An updated version was released in July 2009.