The bean counters have spoken. The longest recession since the end of World War II began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009, says the National Bureau of Economic Research, which acts as a sort of referee on the U.S. business climate (via Dow Jones Newswires). As for the high unemployment rate, sluggish housing markets, and struggling government budgets, the organization is cryptic as to whether a “double-dip” recession has already begun.

Regardless of the semantics, Colorado continues, as it has for years, to struggle with a budget deficit. The latest tally is a gap of $50 to $257 million for the remainder of the fiscal year, probably meaning additional cuts in services and personnel sans any revenue increases, writes the Denver Business Journal.

The news surely isn’t welcome for Democrat John Hickenlooper, American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo, or Republican Dan Maes, as one of them is on track to inherit what sitting Governor Bill Ritter predicts will be “difficult and unenviable decisions ahead to keep the budget balanced” (via The Denver Post). An even bigger budget problem looms for the 2011-12 fiscal year.

“We’re in for a roller-coaster ride,” says Natalie Mullis, the legislature’s chief economist.

The caseload from Medicaid health insurance for the poor, for instance, is growing, costing local taxpayers millions. In order to make up for the shortfalls, state parks, such as Harvey Gap or Sweitzer Lake, might be next on the chopping block, reports Fox 31.