The Joint Budget Committee met today. The first order of business was the economic and budget forecasts from Legislative Council and OSPB. The June forecast is typically the least influential, as it is the furthest away from the timeframe (March) that the legislature actually creates a budget. This is the first forecast that included the impacts of SB17-267 which made the Hospital Provider Fee an enterprise fund.
Highlights include the following:
- Both forecasts agree that Colorado’s economy overall is very strong, though not all areas of the state are seeing the same growth. However, the economy may be operating at its peak level with such a tight labor market that there is increased pressure on wages and corporate profits in some industries. This is the eighth straight year of economic expansion, which makes this the third longest expansion this century.
- Both forecasts show a shortfall for the current 16/17 budget of approximately $130 million. Both assume that this shortfall will be covered by the statutory reserve.
- Assuming that the 16/17 shortfall is covered by the reserve, the estimate of additional revenue available to spend for 18/19 (the budget that the legislature will set in the 2018 session) is between $222 million and $531 million. Rep. Hamner pointed out that to keep K-12 funding steady for inflation and enrollment in 18/19 will cost approximately $200 million.
- SB17-267 absolutely improved the overall budget picture for the State. However, Colorado remains in a tight budget climate with limited resources to spend on new programs.
Links to the full reports are here:
https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/june2017forecast.pdf (Legislative Council)
Please let us know if you have any questions.
Brandeberry McKenna Public Affairs