Consistent, but Moderate Growth in Colorado’s Economy
Late last week, leading state economists presented more positive news regarding the continued growth of Colorado’s economy. Colorado is one of a handful of states leading the nation in job growth and experiencing higher levels of economic activity in high-skill, technology, and energy development industries. In the wake of the recent recession, these gains have resulted in moderate, but steady economic growth in Colorado.
Economists mentioned that it was still too early to determine what impact the recent devastating floods would have on the broader Colorado economy. And despite uncertainties regarding federal fiscal policy and the federal deficit limit, a possible government shutdown, and other risks to the global economy, Colorado is forecasted to continue on a steady path to fiscal strength and stability.
Specifically, the state’s General Fund revenue forecast increased by $209.5M for fiscal year (FY) 2013-14 and $244.7M for FY 14-15 as a result of increased individual income taxes. The General Fund ended FY 2012-13 with $1.1 billion more than was budgeted to be spent, and this amount will be transferred to the State Education Fund in FY 13-14. The State Education Fund will receive an additional $435 million from the General Fund in FY 2014-15.
The increases in state revenues and funds flowing into the State Education Fund will allow lawmakers to refocus their attention on making strategic investments in key program areas after years of difficult budget cuts in the wake of the recession. Ultimately, the General Assembly will have almost $1.6 billion available to spend in the next fiscal year 2014-15, an 18.5% increase in the amount budgeted in FY 2013-14.