Brutal spending cuts looming for Colorado |

Brutal spending cuts looming for Colorado

DENVER – The head of the Colorado Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee is warning that brutal budget cuts, new fees and higher taxes are on the table when lawmakers begin considering next year’s budget.

Sen. Moe Keller, a Wheat Ridge Democrat, told a panel studying the state’s budget crisis on Thursday that options include new regional sales taxes, shifting programs between counties and state agencies, consolidating cigarette and transportation tax-sharing programs, taking back part of the Lottery proceeds, eliminating enterprise zones and freezing conservation easements. The state may also have to close some state parks.

Lawmakers learned last month they have to make more budget cuts because tax revenue is expected to drop $384 million more than they expected. The total shortfall could grow as high as $838 million next year, but Keller is warning lawmakers it could exceed $1 billion because of caseload increases and obligations.

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