Colorado’s next budget is expected to have between $636 million and $666 million in new money for legislators to spend in the 2018-19 fiscal year, giving hope to elected officials that they can direct more funding to transportation, opioid-addiction treatment and other areas.
Those numbers, offered Wednesday by the nonpartisan Legislative Council and by Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Office of Planning and Budgeting, are subject to change based on local and national economic conditions.
And Joint Budget Committee members will build their proposed budget based on the quarterly revenue forecast that comes out in March, not the one that came out in September.
But after several years of constrained budgeting, the early forecasts give the Legislature hope that it can talk more about areas in which state government can invest rather than places where it should cut or limit the growth of funding.
That is due in part to a growing economy that is expected to continue to bring in more tax revenue, and it’s due in part to a bill passed earlier this year that removed the hospital provider fee from under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights revenue cap, giving legislators more room to spend.
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