BLEAK BUDGET OUTLOOK FOR COLORADO
Denver—Garfield County’s impending budget challenges are symptomatic of what the entire state is facing in 2017. Colorado revenue forecasts released today by legislative and economic analysts say a combination of factors are to blame for the bleak budget outlook, namely shrinking oil and gas revenues and court-ordered tax refunds to oil companies. Chief legislative economist Natalie Mullis says lawmakers could face a 63 million dollar shortfall in funding for education, prisons and other items. Governor John Hickenlooper’s budget director, Henry Sobanet says the focus for next year will be on stabilizing the general fund. The fiscal year begins next July but the governor has to submit a budget proposal by November 1st. Locally, Garfield County officials have been sending out warning signals that 2017 will see a 17 million dollar drop in sales tax revenues.