JBC Dems prioritize saving people money, making Colorado more affordable
DENVER, CO – Democratic members of the Joint Budget Committee today released the following statements after the Legislative Council staff and the Office of State Planning and Budgeting delivered the June economic forecasts.
“Today’s forecast shows that our economy is making a bold recovery with unemployment rates falling to pre-pandemic levels, nearly all sectors thriving, and Colorado’s employment gains outpacing the nation,” said JBC Chair Rep. Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon. “I’m proud of the fiscally responsible decisions we made to power the Colorado comeback and position our state to compete. We know that even with our strong recovery, families are struggling with high gas prices and the rising cost of living. Our Colorado Cashback Plan will send every Coloradan a refund check in September to help with everyday necessities, which thanks to our economic growth, will now be at least $750 for single filers and $1,500 for joint filers. From cutting property taxes to creating free universal preschool, we passed dozens of laws this year to help Coloradans and small businesses hold on to more of their hard-earned money.”
“Thanks to smart, responsible budgeting, Colorado’s economic recovery is leading the way, which is good news for families that are dealing with surging prices,” said JBC Vice Chair Sen. Chris Hansen, D-Denver. “Even better, Democrats have worked hard to ensure Colorado remains on a sound fiscal path, and today’s forecast means families will get even more money back – at least $750 for single filers and $1,500 for joint filers – when they receive their taxpayer relief checks this fall. I’m proud of the work we’ve done to invest in our communities, support Colorado’s economy, and move our state forward.”
“Despite a geopolitical crisis, supply chain challenges and pandemic-induced inflation leading to higher prices across the globe, Colorado is gaining jobs and beginning to close the gaps in our recovery that disproportionately impact people of color and lower-income communities,” said JBC Member Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “Our recovery has led to a strong budget surplus that we used to save people money on gas, groceries, property taxes, fees, hygiene products, car registrations, sales taxes, child care and so much more. By investing in vibrant communities, increasing access to behavioral health, boosting small businesses, and making housing more affordable, we worked to address the most pressing needs in our communities and protect the Colorado way of life.”
“Today’s data makes clear that Colorado’s economy continues to outpace other states when it comes to economic recovery and growth,” said JBC Member Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada. “We crafted a budget that delivers for Colorado families by making investments in K-12 education, reducing fees for businesses and professionals to save people money, and investing in health care for children and pregnant women, and it’s paying off for our families and our communities.”
The unemployment rate continued to fall in Colorado to 3.5 percent in May, led mostly by gains in the food and accommodations sectors. The state exceeds pre-pandemic jobs by 35,000 and continues to outpace the rest of the country. Inflationary pressures, however, will impact near term budget priorities and state departments. Geopolitical disruption and monetary policy decisions at the federal level in response to inflation were also presented as risks to the forecast. Extraordinary state and federal action to help Coloradans weather the disruption of the pandemic ensured a stronger and faster recovery than previous recessions.
During the 2022 legislative session, Democrats passed the Colorado Cashback Plan to send rebate checks to Coloradans in September to help people with rising costs. Under the new law, the state will refund approximately 85 percent of FY 2021-2022 surplus TABOR revenue through the Colorado Cashback Plan in checks of equal amounts for single filers and double that amount for joint filers. Due to Colorado’s strong recovery, the forecasts now estimate that the checks will be $750 for single filers and $1,500 for joint filers.
The Legislative Council staff (LCS) forecast anticipates General Fund revenues to be $17.43 billion in FY 2021-2022 and $17.42 billion in FY 2022-2023 – a $1.37 billion increase for FY 2021-2022 and a $1.05 billion increase for FY 2022-2023 as compared with the earlier March revenue forecast. The forecast anticipates General Fund revenues to be $17.40 billion for FY 2023-2034.
The Office of State Planning and Budgeting (OSPB) anticipates that General Fund revenue will be $17.2 billion for FY 2021-22, which OSPB revised upward by $1 billion relative to its March estimate. For FY 2022-23, OSPB projects General Fund revenue will be close to $16.6 billion, which OSPB revised upward by $91.1 million relative to its March estimate. For FY 2023-2024, OSPB estimates that General Fund revenue will be $17.3 billion.