First printed as a letter to the editor of The Denver Post on Monday, February 2nd, 2009
Amid the hand-wringing over cuts to vital programs this year, a small group of lawmakers has been quietly mulling over an effort to undo one of the key constraints on the state budget.
And they have found new hope in a legal opinion that says their target, known as the Arves-choug-Bird limit, is not protected by the state constitution.
Named after the lawmakers who sponsored the legislation in 1991, the provision limits growth in spending from the state's general fund — the pot of money from which most operating needs are drawn — to no more than 6 percent a year.
With few exceptions, the provision prohibits any money collected beyond the limit from going to operating needs — the ongoing costs of state government to run prisons, schools, colleges, health care and social services.
Separate laws say that any money collected beyond the 6 percent limit must go for roads and construction needs.
However, in years when the state's general-fund spending drops, Arveschoug-Bird limits spending growth in the fund for the next year to 6 percent — the so-called ratchet-down effect.
For example, if the state's general-fund spending were $100 in one year and fell to $80 the next year, the 6 percent limit would mean that spending could grow to only $84.80 the following year.
First printed as a letter to the editor of The Gazette on Wednesday, January 27th, 2009
State limited in what it can do when economy goes downhill
I suspect by now people are pretty confused by TABOR and all the discussion at the state level concerning our budget and the needed cuts. To be part of this debate, however, you need to understand the four major components of TABOR in our Constitution.
First, TABOR imposed a revenue limit and any money collected over that limit must be returned to the taxpayers. Each year government's revenue can only grow by the combined rate of population growth and inflation. So, if Colorado's population grows by 3 percent and inflation by 4 percent, government revenues can grow by 7 percent. That means if we collected $100 in taxes and fees last year, we can collect $107 this year. If government collects $120, it must return $13 to the taxpayers. Referendum C gave us a time-out from just this provision of TABOR through June 30, 2011.
Second, TABOR imposed spending limits. At the state level we have interpreted this to mean that our statutory 6 percent general fund spending allocation formula is actually a limit.
First reported in the Aurora Sentinel on Thurday, January 22nd, 2009
The Autism Society of Colorado (ASC) in association with Single Volunteers of Greater Denver will hold its Second Annual "Head Over Heels" Date Auction at Red and Jerry's Octane Club, 1840 W. Oxford, Sheridan, CO 80110 on Thursday, February 5th, 2009, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
Proceeds from this event will provide funds for ASC's work of information and Referral, Public Policy, Education, and Community Enrichment. ASC's mission is to promote the quality of life for people with autism spectrum disorders and their families. In Colorado one in 169 children is directly affected by autism.
Last year's event was very well attended with several local celebrities and other quality singles volunteering to be auctioned off for a Valentine's Day date. Funds raised from the auctioned singles benefitted ASC. This year's line-up (so far) includes: Colorado State Senator John Morse, CW2's Greg Nieto, THE "Prince Charming" ( Brian Dowling) from the Larkspur Renaissance Festival, and Denver's own Chocolate Therapist, Julie Pech. Ashton Altieri, KSUA's 9News weekend meteorologist will be the Master of Ceremonies for the evening's event. Scott Alexander from Kildow Auction Company will be our auctioneer for the evening.
First reported on 9NEWS.com on Thursday, January 22nd, 2009
DENVER (AP) - Gov. Bill Ritter has placed on hold construction of a new Department of Corrections headquarters in Colorado Springs, citing the state's budget shortfall.
The new building was to be built near the existing 65,000-square-foot Corrections Department headquarters, making the agency a principal tenant of the proposed Vineyard Commerce Park office complex.
Mortenson Development Inc. of Minneapolis is developing the complex on Janitell Road; company spokesman Mark Alexander did not immediately return an after-hours seeking comment Thursday.
The state's 30-year, lease-to-own deal on the new 100,000-square-foot building would have been worth about $90 million.
However, Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer said Thursday that the new headquarters has been "indefinitely halted."
He noted that the cancellation was prompted by the state's budget woes and is not related to complaints about the decision on where to build the new headquarters.
The department solicited bids on the project last year, and proposals from Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Canon City were among the finalists.
After Colorado Springs won the bid, Pueblo and Canon City charged that their bids would have saved taxpayer dollars and that the department chose Colorado Springs out of convenience for its 240 headquarters employees.