Joint Budget Committee Chairman Ken Lambert (R-Colorado Springs) released the following statement today in response to yesterday's quarterly economic and fiscal forecast from the Office of Legislative Council and the Governor's Office of State Planning and Budgeting, which included relatively positive news regarding the state's economy but also indicated that the purse strings might need more tightening next session:
"The lesson I took away from the briefing, which was a mix of relatively good and not-so-good news, is that you can never be too conservative in your economic and fiscal assumptions, given the unevenness of Colorado’s recovery and the pressures that continue to build on the state budget, especially from a significant expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare.
We committed last session to return TABOR refunds to the people, in keeping with the spirit and letter of that law, and I believe that’s the best course of action even if it requires some purse string-tightening elsewhere in the budget. Many Coloradans also are living with a lot of uncertainty right now, wondering if this fitful recovery will make it easier or harder for them to put food on the table, so these refunds may for many of them make a meaningful difference. I’m not about to tell Coloradans that politicians in Denver need that money more than they do.
We'll get a much clearer look at what we’re up against, budget-wise, later this year, but it seems appropriate, given what we know now, to be very cautious and conservative in our assumptions and projections as we begin putting a state budget together."