Colorado state revenues drop sharply |

Colorado state revenues drop sharply

Colleen Slevin
Associated Press Writer
Vail, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado – The state is $250 million in the hole for the fiscal year that ends next week and will have to borrow money from next year’s budget to pay the bills.

The assessment is from a legislative budget analysis obtained by The Associated Press prior to its official release on Monday.

Budget analysts said the shortfall could hit $838 million over the next three years. By borrowing money from next year’s budget, lawmakers said they’ll be forced to cut $384 million over the next year to cover that amount plus the shortfall that will accrue in the next year’s budget.

Democratic state Sen. Moe Keller, of Wheat Ridge, said the state will have to repay the money from next year’s budget and make tough decisions when they return next year.

She said options include asking Gov. Bill Ritter to make additional cuts in each department, asking lawmakers to make cuts for the 2009-2010 budget year that begins July 1 when they return in January or allowing the governor to deplete the mandatory general fund reserve, which has $138 million in it.

“We’re not going to need a special session because we took care of this when the Legislature was in session,” Keller said.

Lawmakers were expecting bad news, but some said were still shocked when it came.

“I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I am,” said state Sen. Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo.

In their March forecast, budget analysts warned the shortfall would be about $208 million. They blamed a sharp drop in corporate and personal income tax revenues for the bigger-than-expected gap.

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