Earlier this week Governor Bill Ritter, who oversees a budget that is $384 million short, said cuts to state departments that will be proposed in September will be “surgical,” yet deep (via The Denver Post).
That provided the backdrop for yesterday’s testimony to Colorado’s Long-Term Fiscal Stability Commission, whose members were urged several times not to eliminate tax exemptions, but to either fix or get rid of the so-called 1982 Gallagher Amendment, which requires business owners to pay most of the state’s property taxes (via the Denver Business Journal).
Former Republican U.S. Senator Hank Brown (pictured) argued that Colorado has spent too much money in the past on expanding institutions, such as schools.
“We went through a phase in Colorado where we added a community college or a state college or a university in just about every place that had a gas station in the state of Colorado. Even the people who voted for all of those things realized we were carried away,” he said, calling for a more efficient government in years to come (via The Associated Press).
Former state Senator Norma Anderson, also a Republican, was among the few to suggest that tax breaks approved when the economy was good should now be rolled back. She also thinks lawmakers should avoid taking money from the Colorado Lottery’s open-space preservation program because it would cause massive public outrage.
One piece of good news: Colorado recently received high marks for its relative economic health and competitive business climate (via the Northern Colorado Business Report).