Economic Forecast Key In Upcoming Colorado Budget

March 18, 2012 12:00 AM

Economic Forecast Key In Upcoming Colorado Budget
" DENVER (AP) – With major implications for the state budget, Colorado economists will release a quarterly tax forecast Monday that will influence lawmakers’ decisions on key issues of next year’s budget.

The big pieces of the puzzle: Will the state have enough money to pay for a property tax break for seniors that’s been foreshadowed to spark a big partisan fight? How will the often-slashed colleges and schools fare this go-around?

Lawmakers are hopeful that Monday’s numbers will show enough improvement in the economy that they won’t have to make as many painful cuts as they’ve made in the past. One lawmaker said numbers he’s seen from the Colorado Department of Revenue show tax receipts increased anywhere from $50 million to $70 million higher than what state economists predicted in December. The actual projections could be lower or even higher.

But more money could also equal more problems in Colorado’s split Legislature, where Republicans who control the House have indicated they won’t budge on a senior property tax break totaling nearly $100 million. It’s money that Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper’s economists have insisted the state can’t pay "

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