Though the next fiscal budget year for Colorado doesn’t begin until July 2011, lawmakers will be dealing with the realities of the anticipated $1.1 billion shortfall when the legislative session officially begins in January. The Pueblo Chieftain reports that revenues collected in the form of taxes and fees from businesses are down at a time when school enrollments are up, meaning the state will struggle to come up with millions of dollars more to fund K-12 schools. Another problem for lawmakers looking to fill the void: Property assessments are down, the first drop since the 1980s, notes The Denver Post. That means legislators must find another $140 million for schools in the 2011-12 budget year: By law, the state is required to cover lost local property-tax collections for education.
That information was contained in a report to lawmakers that could have been worse, says state Representative Mark Ferrandino, a Denver Democrat: “It’s pretty much status quo. There is less volatility [this year], which is good.” Assessed values of residential properties are going to be down by 10.4 percent in 2011. “The sustained high level of foreclosures, economic downturn, and tight mortgage financing market have put downward pressure on home prices throughout Colorado,” according to the report. Colorado Ed News, meanwhile, breaks down the K-12 funding conundrum.