Colorado ranks 49th in stimulus aid, tax relief |

Colorado ranks 49th in stimulus aid, tax relief

Burt Hubbard
Rocky Mountain News
Denver, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado – The stimulus package President Barack Obama signed with much fanfare in Denver leaves Colorado near the bottom of the deck in terms of federal aid and tax relief.

Colorado will get $7.89 billion, the equivalent of $1,597 per resident. That ranks 49th among the 50 states, surpassing only Utah in per capita spending and tax savings, according to a Rocky Mountain News analysis of a state-by- state breakdown by the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C.

The top state: Alaska at $2,619 per person.

Evan Dreyer, spokesman for Gov. Bill Ritter, said one reason for the low ranking could be Colorado’s relative economic health compared with the rest of the nation. The state has a low unemployment and poverty rate compared with other states.

“Colorado, for many reasons, is doing much better than most other states,” Dreyer said.

But the governor’s office will keep a close watch on funding, he said.

“I think it will lead us to ask questions of the administration and our delegations to ensure that Colorado is receiving its fair share,” he said.

Kathy White of the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, a Denver think tank, said it’s unclear why the state is in the basement.

Some stimulus funding is based on formulas; other funding levels, such as money for energy projects, are governed by existing state spending plans. Still other allocations will be influenced by proposals that states have yet to submit to the federal government, White said.

Tara Trujillo, spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, said the state’s take could change as it competes for various aspects of the stimulus funding.

“It will increase,” Trujillo said.

For example, the stimulus program sets aside $1.5 billion for which states can compete. Any transportation project ranging from $20 million to $300 million is eligible. The rules for that program will be published within three months.

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