State Budgets 2012: Colorado



To see more state budget news and information, visit State Budgets 2012

Budget Background:

  • Fiscal Year Begins: July 
  • Frequency of Legislative Cycle: Annual
  • Legislative Session for 2012: Jan. 11, 2012
  • Frequency of Budget Cycle: Annual

Learn more from the National Association of State Budget Officers

Budget News and Information: 2012

5/8/12: Colorado governor signs budget plan

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper signed Colorado's budget for next year and praised both parties for collaborating. Hickenlooper was surrounded by the state's budget writers Monday as he signed the budget. It includes a $7.4 billion general fund plan for the fiscal year that starts in July.

Read more: Associated Press

4/29/12: Colorado legislators cheer budget, but some parts still draw critics

Colorado lawmakers have been toasting each other this session for passing what they see as the most encouraging state budget in four years ... Yet advocates for greater spending on state services say the budget that lawmakers approved for fiscal 2012-13, which begins in July, is no cause for celebration.

Read more: The Denver Post

4/27/12: Lawmakers finish work on Colorado budget

Colorado lawmakers have finalized the last details of a $7.4 billion spending plan for next fiscal year and are sending the appropriately dubbed "Long Bill" to the governor.

Read more: Associated Press

4/26/12: Colo. $7.4 billion spending plan close to getting finalized during smooth budget year

Colorado lawmakers are finalizing the last details of a $7.4 billion spending plan for next fiscal year before sending the appropriately dubbed "Long Bill" to the governor. The Senate approved several amendments and companion bills to the budget Thursday before returning it to the House in what has been one of the smoothest budget processes in years as tax collections have picked up. The House will consider changes later Thursday.

Read more: Associated Press

4/19/12: State budget sails through Senate

Senators voted 30-5 for the state budget Thursday, proof that a little extra money can buy the Legislature a lot of good feelings. The vote follows last week’s 64-1 approval in the House, making it the first time in the careers of any current legislator that there has been such agreement on the budget.

Read more: The Durango Herald

4/16/12: House comes together to support state budget

In a remarkable display of bipartisanship following a legislative session filled with bickering over how to fund the state budget, the House on Thursday backed a $7.5 billion general fund spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year by a vote of 64-1.

Read more: The Colorado Statesman

4/11/12: Colo. House debates $8 billion spending plan that includes schools, Medicaid and prisons

The Colorado House will debate an $8 billion spending plan that includes good news for schools, colleges and seniors.

Read more: Associated Press

4/10/12: Hickenlooper's requested eco-devo money left out of state budget

Nearly $6 million in added economic-development incentives that Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper requested to be part of next year’s state budget was never appropriated by the Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee (JBC) — a decision that is likely to spark debate on the state House floor Wednesday.

Read more: Denver Business Journal

4/9/12: Colorado lawmakers enter final month

Colorado lawmakers are entering their final month of the 2012 session with plenty left to do — but without the caustic atmosphere one might expect in the closing days of an election year ... An improving economy means the budget Colorado lawmakers will debate next week restores some funding for state services cut deeply during the recession. Lawmakers appear to have tax revenue to start restoring cuts they've had to make to K-12 education, and they're also anticipating restoring a senior property tax break that they had to cut during lean fiscal times.

Read more: Associated Press

4/5/12: Colorado lawmakers salvage state tourism budget

Despite a multi-million dollar dip in revenue, lawmakers proposed a slight increase in the state's tourism budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year. The bump would bring the budget up to more than $13 million.

Read more: Summit Daily News

4/2/12: State budget sparing schools heads for debate in House

A Colorado budget with better-than-expected funding for education, colleges and seniors will be introduced in the House next week, where lawmakers will vote on a proposed $8 billion spending plan.

Read more: Associated Press

3/30/12: Colorado's Joint Budget Committee breaks impasse over state employee reduction

Budget-writing state lawmakers broke through a partisan impasse Thursday when they settled on a smaller cut for state agencies that could avoid many layoffs.

Read more: The Denver Post

3/29/12: State budget beset by political land mines

Lawmakers preparing Colorado's budget this year are negotiating a territory packed with political land mines.They're the kinds of questions voters see in political ads, especially when control of the Legislature is at stake: Who cares more about seniors? Who's more willing to help schools? Who's looking out for state workers? Having more tax money this year has not made dealing with those topics any easier. Lawmakers learned this week they have about $200 million more to spend because of improved tax receipts, even after budgeting for a contentious property tax break for some seniors.The Joint Budget Committee continued negotiations Thursday and expect to introduce a budget as soon as next week.

Read more: Associated Press

3/23/12: More state revenue, more debate about budget cuts

Republicans on Monday said they remain set on fully restoring a property tax break for seniors related to the 2012-13 fiscal year budget, even in the face of Democrats saying they are open to restoring as much of the Senior Homestead Exemption as possible.

Read more: The Colorado Statesman

3/19/12: Improving economy helps Colorado's state budget

An improving economy is giving Colorado more tax money to spend next year. And Democrats and Republicans at the Capitol are already haggling over how to spend it. Economic forecasts delivered to lawmakers Monday predicted more than $150 million in additional income taxes and sales taxes for the fiscal year that begins in July. Revenues are improving with increases from personal income and business taxes, economists said. They noted that the state's manufacturing, farming, ranching and oil industries have also grown. With more money, lawmakers will begin what could be a divisive debate over where to spend the additional funds in a general fund of about $7.4 billion.

Read more: Associated Press

3/14/12: Dems and Repubs square off for budget showdown

Colorado lawmakers are heading into the second half of a legislative session that will likely feature a partisan clash over the state budget but bipartisan cooperation over reforming the personnel system for state employees and overhauling telecommunications regulations. All eyes are fixed on March 19, the day the state's next quarterly revenue forecast is released. State tax collections have been tracking fairly well with projections since the last forecast in December, and there is optimism that the March forecast will show revenues even higher than expected. The question is how much higher. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper's budget is based on the assumption that the legislature will once again suspend a property-tax break for seniors that costs the state $100 million.

Read more: The Denver Post

3/8/12: Bill tying lawmaker pay to budget passes 1st vote

A bill to suspend Colorado lawmakers' pay and benefits if they don't pass a state budget on time got its first approval Wednesday despite unease from lawmakers who questioned the necessity of the legislation.

Read more: Associated Press

3/4/12: Joint Budget Committee to vote on higher-ed funding

In retrospect, after a colleague in the state legislature had "talked me down from the ledge," Rep. Cheri Gerou, R-Evergreen, admitted that it was a fit of pique that caused her to file a motion last week to disband the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.The chairwoman of the Joint Budget Committee, who later withdrew her motion, said she doesn't regret her actions. Gerou wanted the CCHE, whose responsibilities include long-range planning for higher education as well as recommending statewide funding levels to the full legislature, to know that it was falling down on the job.

Read more: The Denver Post

2/25/12: Seniors wait for tax relief while Colorado lawmakers mull budget

It's been more than a decade since Colorado voters approved the property tax break to help seniors on fixed incomes. But lawmakers refused to pay for the exemption most years in order to balance the state budget. Over the next few weeks, a showdown over the senior tax will play out in the state Legislature. After a three-year absence, the exemption may be reinstated at a cost of some $100 million to the budget that lawmakers will vote on this spring.

Read more: The Coloradoan

Budget News and Information: Previous Budget Cycles

5/17/11: CO lawmaker sets effort to raise taxes for schools

A Democratic state senator is moving forward with a ballot initiative to raise Colorado's income and sales taxes, saying Monday that the hikes will collect about $3 billion during five years to fund the state's beleaguered education budget.

Read more: Associated Press

5/7/11: Gov. Hickenlooper inks $18 billion Colorado budget, but some pieces still in play

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed his first state budget into law Friday, an $18 billion spending plan for the 2011-12 fiscal year that still won't be technically balanced until a few other bills become law.

Read more: The Denver Post

4/24/11: GOP-approved Colorado budget similar to those party fought in past

Republican lawmakers voted in record numbers this year for a state budget, a stark change from years under complete Democratic control when all but a few routinely opposed what they called bloated budgets.

Read more: Denver Post

4/14/11: Colorado House gives final approval to $18B budget

An $18 billion state budget for next fiscal year that forces education cuts, reduced health services and less money for local government cleared the Colorado House on Thursday, largely leaving intact a bipartisan spending agreement that already cleared the Senate

Read more: Associated Press

4/11/11: Colorado budget gets final approval in Senate

A series of budget cuts in Colorado has gotten final approval in the state Senate.

Read more: Associated Press

4/2/11: Talks on state budget become heated

A week of state budget negotiaitons between Democrats and Republicans produced no agreements Friday and ended with angry feelings as the GOP House speaker pushed for a change that one group said is an attempt to "Wisconsinize" the budget.

Read more: The Denver Post

3/30/11: Lawmakers, constituents discuss state budget options

Area state lawmakers fielded local constituents' questions Tuesday night on topics ranging from the costs of state-issued cellphones to a proposed merger of the state's wildlife and parks agencies.

Read more: Longmont Times-Call

3/29/11: Numbers unclear as committee wrangles with state budget

State employees and agencies are practically turning blue from holding their breaths 
while waiting to see how much money their respective departments will lose in next 
year's budget.

Read more: The (Colorado Springs) Gazette

3/21/11: Could education be spared? Positive March revenue forecast 
suggests there is $161.3M to spend; budget shortfall cut in half

A generally positive March revenue forecast suggests the state is looking at $161.3 million in additional revenue for this fiscal year largely due to one-time sources from capital gains and higher profits.


Read more: The Denver Daily News


3/9/11: Gov. Hickenlooper proposes merging parks, wildlife agencies

The state agencies that deal with parks and wildlife may soon be merged into a single division in an effort to save money, Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Tuesday.

Read more: The Denver Post

3/8/11: Hickenlooper budget could eliminate thousands of jobs

The Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute Monday released a strudy showing that the budget proposed by Governor John Hickenlooper could eliminate 3600 Colorado jobs.

Read more: The Colorado Independent

3/2/11: Colorado senator to take tax-hike measure to voters

Saying that just cutting spending wasn't the answer to Colorado's budget problems, a Democratic state senator on Monday filed a citizen initiative that would ask voters in November to enact a three-year, $1.63 billion tax increase.

Read more: The Denver Post