DENVER – Colorado’s economic outlook is brighter than previously anticipated due in part to the arrival of coronavirus vaccines, new job creation in certain industries and strong online sales tax revenues, providing lawmakers some wiggle room when they craft a state budget during the 2021 legislative session.
Two economic forecasts presented Friday to the Joint Budget Committee suggest Colorado’s budget will rebound to pre-pandemic levels during the next fiscal year that starts July 1, The Colorado Sun reports. Lawmakers may have a surplus of up to $3.8 billion in the next fiscal year, according to legislative forecasts.
But that surplus revenue doesn’t account for increased demand in government support for those residents, businesses and services impacted by the pandemic. The quarterly forecasts from the governor’s office and legislative economists show Colorado’s key restaurant and tourism industries and low-wage workers are getting left behind, the Sun reported.
Gov. Jared Polis has proposed a $1.3 billion stimulus plan that includes checks sent in December to more than 400,000 unemployed residents, future infrastructure spending and restoring drastic cuts made this year to state spending and to reserves for the general fund, the discretionary portion of the state budget.