Colorado is facing a budget shortfall of about $250 million in the current fiscal year. This is on top of earlier reductions in expectations for revenue of $340 million, $200 million and $500 million, give or take.
When the legislature is not in session, like now, the job of balancing the budget falls on the Governor’s shoulders. It seems like he is shrugging.
There are three ways to approach the problem of balancing a budget that is out of whack. You can:
1. cut spending
2. raise taxes
3. do nothing and hope the economy gets better
It certainly appears to me that four weeks after our latest shortfall projection, the Governor is choosing door number three.
It’s not that he hasn’t tried before to take a stand. He did say that he wouldn’t raise taxes. Then he said that tax increases would be part of the “conversation”.
He decided to actually cut some spending.
He planned to save money by letting bad guys out of jail early. It appears that that idea is getting a second look after we find out that he’s letting out a sex offender and guys with multiple assault charges.
He decided to take $200 a month away from the needy and disabled. After a month of protests, he relented on that idea.
He decided to cut spending on DUI enforcement. He changed his mind on that one in about four days.
It appears that his budget balancing ideas have expiration dates. The good news is that so does a Governor’s term.