A Peek at the 2011 State Legislative Agenda: Vehicle-Registration Fees, Graffiti, Alcohol Sales, and the "Hidden" Budget

December 2010

It seems unlikely that Republicans, who now control the state House (but not the state Senate or governor's office), will make good on their campaign vows to repeal higher vehicle-registration fees, writes The Denver Post. But lawmakers are likely to try, once again, to crack down on graffiti, which has cost the city and county of Denver $1.37 million this year alone. As of November, crews removed 4,594,500 square feet of graffiti, up 25 percent over last year, according to a separate article from the Post. And while craft beer has a hero in Governor-elect John Hickenlooper, grocery and convenience stores are looking for more advocates, as they once again push to abolish rules that limit their alcohol sales to only low-alcohol beer, the Post also reports.

Meanwhile, as some lawmakers have boasted about making hard choices to keep the budget balanced for the last decade, the state still has a "hidden" budget shortfall of $3.7 billion. Those obligations might not be repaid, writes The Associated Press, which notes the sum includes funds collected for services that were never paid in the first place and other "accounting tricks," such as saving $90 million by moving a monthly paycheck for state employees from 2003 into the next fiscal year. Sam Mamet, executive director of the Colorado Municipal League, says local communities believe the state should repay some of the funds, such as $250 million that was used to handle increased demand for services associated with oil-and-gas drilling.