December 20, 2011

(Denver)– House Democrats welcomed today’s improved state revenue forecast, and their representative on the Joint Budget Committee said a chunk of the money should be used to mend proposed cuts to K-12 and higher education.

Releasing its latest quarterly forecast today, Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office estimated the state government’s revenues would increase by $231 million, an increase of about 3 percent. Rising state revenues reflect a corresponding upturn in the overall Colorado economy.

“We’ve been waiting for this kind of good news,” said House Democratic Leader Mark Ferrandino. “Along with the recent decline in the state jobless rate, this new sign of a more robust economy is beginning to look like a trend.”

But he cautioned against complacency. “It’s too soon to declare victory over the Great Recession,” Rep. Ferrandino said. “Now is definitely not the time to ease up on our economic development and job creation efforts.”

Rep. Daniel Kagan (D-Englewood) thanked the governor for his work to bring jobs to Colorado.

“Arrow Electronics wouldn’t have brought its headquarters to this state without Governor Hickenlooper’s personal invitation,” Rep. Kagan said.

Rep. Max Tyler (D-Golden) also credited the governor. “Another part of what’s behind today’s news is legislative Democrats’ efforts to connect Coloradans to good jobs,” he said.

Gov. Hickenlooper’s office said a portion of the additional money was needed to plug shortfalls caused by rising demand on the state prison and health care systems.

Speaking of the governor’s proposal to increase senior home heating, fuel and rent assistance program, Rep. Kefalas (D-Fort Collins) said it was good news for Colorado’s neediest seniors.

“I look forward to working with the governor and my legislative colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that Colorado’s senior citizens have access to critical support, regardless of how love they’ve lived in their homes,” Rep. Kefalas said.

Rep. Claire Levy (D-Boulder), a member of the Joint Budget Committee, strongly endorsed the governor’s recommendation to cancel a proposed $89 million cut to K-12 education and cuts to financial aid for college students. .

“There is no better guarantee of a healthy Colorado economy than a well-educated Colorado workforce,” Rep. Levy said.

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