Colorado’s low taxes, budget cuts threaten essential public services

DENVER – Without increases in revenue, Coloradans face dwindling public services and an inability to make government more efficient, a report from the Buechner Institute for Governance at the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver has found.

“Colorado’s Fiscal Future: We’ll Get What We Pay For” by Mark Fermanich, PhD, research analyst at the CU Denver School of Public Affairs, outlines the impact of budget cuts on services from maintaining transportation systems and supporting public education to providing basic services to the indigent. It also identifies an array of potential remedies for boosting state revenues.

“This report is useful because it lays out in a very clear and concise manner the budgetary challenges facing the state,” said Brian J. Gerber, PhD, executive director of the Buechner Institute and associate professor at the CU Denver School of Public Affairs. “It explains the basic structure of why we are struggling to finance public services. It also presents a nice discussion of what the options look like in terms of raising revenue. None of that is easy, of course, but this report gives Coloradans a basic account of what the numbers actually look like.”
Fermanich analyzed a wide range of studies and reports published in recent years to quantify the funding needed to maintain core services across the state. He also calculated the estimated revenue increases that could be expected from changes in income and sales tax rates, motor fuels taxes and property taxes.

“Colorado is a wealthy state. Yet as a state we have elected to keep taxes and government spending among the lowest in the nation,” the report states. “Without raising revenues, it is becoming increasingly clear that we will not be able to maintain even current service levels. Soon, the citizens of Colorado will have to decide what they want from their state government and whether they are willing to pay for it.”

A copy of the executive summary and the full report is available at:

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Contact: Diane Carman, 303-902-6431, [email protected]