State’s Economic Growth Slow But Steady

(Sept. 20) – The state’s leading economists told the legislative Joint Budget Committee today that Colorado’s economic rebound was continuing at a “modest” or “moderate” pace.

Natalie Mullis, the legislature’s chief economist, estimated that state revenues, which are tied to the overall health of Colorado’s economy, would rise by $210 million from June’s quarterly estimate.

Henry Sobanet, director of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting, and his deputy, Jason Schrock, noted that Colorado continued to outperform most other states in entrepreneurship and job creation.

Mullis indicated that the biggest threat to Colorado’s economy was another looming showdown in the U.S. Congress over the federal budget. She said that while the recent flooding in Colorado would severely impact tourist destinations like Estes Park and farm counties where crops were ruined, in terms of the broader state economy the picture is not as dire, as insurance payouts and infrastructure repair will trigger a burst of economic activity.

Roxane White, the governor’s chief of staff, told the JBC that it was still too early to estimate the state’s cost for flood recovery, but said the governor’s office may ask the committee to reconvene as early as next week to consider requests for supplemental appropriations.

“I’m worried about the cost of rebuilding our roads and bridges, but we have to get the job done as quickly as we can,” said Rep. Crisanta Duran (D-Denver), who was elected today as vice chairwoman of the JBC, replacing the retiring Rep. Claire Levy. “We need to shorten the timeframe for reconstruction.”

“Timely restoration of transportation links and other services has to be our top priority,” said Rep. Jenise May (D-Aurora), who was appointed to the JBC on Thursday.

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