DU Study: Colorado Revenue System Unsustainable

(Read it and weep – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Yesterday, members of DU’s Center for Economic Progress presented their findings from the first comprehensive study of Colorado’s tax system commissioned by the legislature since 1958.

The findings of the study should reinvigorate supporters of a proposed ballot measure. The presenters were adamant that Colorado’s revenue system is wholly unsustainable and needs to be modernized to support a growing need for state services:

  • Reforms of the revenue system

Colorado’s current revenue system could be made more productive and  flexible with measures that broaden revenue bases to capture a larger share of economic activity. This may be accompanied by lower rates and still result in a more productive and equitable revenue system. In addition, reconsidering the earmarking of certain revenues for specific purposes could increase elected officials’ flexibility to deal with changing circumstances in a timely manner.

After the presentation, Sen. Rollie Heath announced he would be presenting a ballot measure that could be referred to voters. The press conference will be Monday, noon, at the state capitol.

The gist of the report: even with the solid economic recovery that is projected to take place, Colorado can’t grow itself out of it’s revenue problems. No matter how many jobs we create or whether we create a “pro-business” atmosphere, budget problems will continue to plague the state until long-term, structural changes are made to our revenue system.

The researchers characterized Colorado’s revenue system as the most volatile of all 50 states.

Here are they key points from the summary of the preliminary report:

The long-term, persistent structural imbalance between General Fund revenues and expenditures will not be corrected without structural solutions. Below are the policy directions we have identified and will pursue further in the next phase of the project:

  • A long-term planning approach to complement the annual budget process. Structural problems take years to develop; they will not be resolved overnight or during a single budget process. A long-term plan should address the persistent fiscal imbalance. It would be adjusted as necessary when economic circumstances and policy decisions exert different pressures on revenue and expenditure trends.
  • Budget rules that address the volatility of revenue streams. Given Colorado’s volatile tax structure, the management of state finances requires an explicit recognition of that volatility and rules for managing it. A budget stabilization fund would capture revenues generated during unusually large upswings and save it to cover shortfalls that result from large negative swings.
  • A redefinition of the state-local partnership for funding schools or a new way to fund schools. Tax-base erosion under the Gallagher Amendment, property tax limits imposed by the school finance act and TABOR, and the mandated cost increases of Amendment 23 have shifted the burden of funding K-12 education substantially to state resources. The partnership between state and local revenues should be rebalanced or Colorado should consider a new way to pay for public schools.
  • Strategies to address programs, particularly Medicaid, which grow faster than revenues. As Colorado’s large baby boom cohort ages, the state will experience slower per-household revenue growth coupled with greater Medicaid expenses. Strategies include planning for cost increases, more cost-effective ways to deliver Medicaid services and ways to improve the productivity of current revenues.
  • Stable and permanent funding sources for transportation, capital needs and controlled maintenance. In the long term, the General Fund cannot provide surplus funding for transportation, capital needs and controlled maintenance. Other financing mechanisms will need to be identified.

The report’s findings mirror those of a similar report by the Buechner Institute of Governance at the School of Public Affairs, CU Denver. While there may be agreement around the problems with Colorado’s budget, concensus is far from being reached on any solutions.  

80 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavidThi808 says:

    An open minded person is willing to change their view based on new facts. Reading this in depth makes clear that income taxes are way too volatile and for all their imperfections, sales taxes seem to be the best approach (at present).

    But to make sales tax work effectively we need to have a couple of changes:

    1. The tax is on everything – services, food, bull semen. So there is no question of “is this taxed?”

    2. There are no exemptions. There is no proof that any exemption provides any value and this tilts the playing field and again makes determining taxes difficult.

    3. The state sets up a single place to report & pay all taxes. It provides an API to provide the tax rate based on address – and it has to be correct (ie not work from just zip code).

    4. The state needs to set up clear, simple, & reasonable rules for where a sale is taxed. At present about half the sales scenarios my company hits the state doesn’t know what jurisdiction it should be taxed in (thank god we rarely sell in Colorado).

    5. The state needs to have a competent Department of Revenue. Roxy & her band of Merry Incompetents guarantee that business will continue to fight the state on sales tax.

    • Ralphie says:

      Sales taxes are regressive by nature, but taxing food and clothing makes this tax even more regressive.

      • gertie97 says:

        Trying to apply sales tax to services would be almost impossible to do and enforcement would be a nightmare. How would you propose applying the tax when a neighborhood kid mows your lawn, for example? Or you hire a handyman to haul stuff away to the dump? Or the visiting nurse stops by to see your elderly neighbor?

        Getting medical care costs under control is vital. How the state can do it going against big pharma, hospitals, medical device manufacturers and human greed in the medical profession may be impossible. But we as a society cannot keep paying at the current, ever increasing, levels.

        • DavidThi808 says:

          Then you can tax lawyers & accountants when they send a client a bill. Much easier.

          One reason to include services, a lot of items sold fall between product & services and that eliminates all the tap dancing used to move those items into the services side.

          A second reason is is about half the economy and so it will double sales tax revenue. Why is it the software company next door that provides programming services pays no sales tax but my software company does because it provides a software product?

          • Services are services; programs are programs.  If you work at a services-oriented software company, you sell your product and you sell services.  The two don’t overlap, and I believe we’ve covered this before…

            • DavidThi808 says:

              We sell “support & updates” where you must by the combo. Support is a service and updates is a product. So is it taxed?

              Answer is it’s not clear so to be safe we charge sales tax if the purchaser is in Colorado.

                • DavidThi808 says:

                  The bottom line seems to be they didn’t think of this case and so don’t have an opinion.

                  • If you sell support and updates and you put two separate line items in, one for support and one for updates, then the support is not taxable.

                    If you cannot separate the support from the updates, then pay the tax.

                    • DavidThi808 says:

                      So while they pay for both, they’re only using the support half. In addition neither is performed in conjunction with the other. Some customers use support only. Some install the upgrades but have no questions so they’re upgrades only. Neither requires the other.

                    • Diogenesdemar says:

                      let me see if I understand this . . .

                      Neither requires the other.


                      We sell “support & updates” where you must by the combo.


                      We have very good reasons for billing them together . . . it’s common practice . . .

                      I’m thinking that maybe the solution to your problem might lie very close to home.  Of course, I guess one could always ask what kind of lame-ass government it is that can’t solve the fucking problem that I’ve worked so hard to create?  But, then you’re already asking that question, aren’t you?  . . . curse you all to hell Roxy Huber!!!!

                      (Dave, on a serious note, If you would let me know how much you’d be willing to pay to solve this problem, I’d be happy to examine your price-point data and put together a pricing structure proposal that properly incentivizes combo purchases while at the same time giving some clear marketing advantages to having the option for separate purchases.  All else being equal, it seems fairly clear to me that if all your competition is forcing software clients to pay for updates that they know they won’t ever use, that your company could develop a separate pricing structure to create a competitive market advantage.)

                    • DavidThi808 says:

                      But there are very good reasons that this is standard practice in the industry. If you want to call me, I’d be happy to go over it off the record.

                    • Diogenesdemar says:

                      and I do understand.  Software is amazingly complex and there’s no way of determining all the potential problems that can arise in all the various permutations of operating systems, etc., etc., prior to any particular release.  Catbert and I will just have to search elsewhere for income opportunities.

                      But, it sounds to me like this is still not as complicated as it’s being portrayed — it’s likely that although your updates have some intrinsic value (especially the cost to your company) they are probably being offered to your clients as free value-added services to the core software purchases.

                      The sales spiel, I imagine, goes something like this: “If you buy our new XYZ, version Z.ZZ, product for $xx,xxx.xx, we will provide to you, at no additional cost, lifetime ( . . . or maybe it’s a set time frame of perhaps three, or five years . . .) upgrades and updates at no additional cost . . . ”

                      Guess what the taxable value of the upgrade portion of this purchase is?  Hint — they’re being offered as no cost, value-added services.  (It’s like when you or I go to make a car purchase and to incentivize the purchase, the dealer says — “If you buy this car today for $25,000, we’ll throw in at no additional cost all regularly scheduled maintenance services for the next thirty-six months.”  The car purchase price isn’t reduced by the dealer’s cost of thirty-six months of service on the purchase invoice — the customer, you or I, will still pay sales taxes on the full car purchase price of $25,000.)  

                      I understand why you would want to show a lower software purchase price in order for your customers to save some sales taxes (that’s probably the way your competition is doing it, so not doing so would make you less competitive) — but it wouldn’t change that the upgrades are free services in the sale.

                      I could be completely wrong here, but this would be my uneducated guess . . .  

                    • DavidThi808 says:

                      What I find fascinating is people saying we should restructure our sales to match the world view of the department of revenue. I think that is the tail wagging the dog.

                    • DavidThi808 says:

                      Sorry, but if we let the state bureaucracy negatively impact companies, that will reduce job growth. I think in the present employment situation we need to push the state to reduce as much as possible the negative impact they have.

                    • Ralphie says:

                      A BIG part, you know?

                      Quit whining.

                    • DavidThi808 says:

                      But when I see the state unnecessarily reducing job growth – I’m going to bring it up. A couple of jobs here, a couple there may not seem like much. But they’re the world to the people that would have become employed.

                      I also think it’s sort of sad that your approach is that the state is screwed up and we should just suffer silently. That is a road to an even more inefficient system.

                      It’s not a big deal in our case, our customers are price insensitive and we have (thankfully) very few in Colorado. So we charge tax on everything in state and we rarely have to hassle with it.

                      But there are a ton of software companies just getting started in Colorado. Many of them will probably have heavy sales in state. I’d like to give them every chance to succeed and grow – and see more people get jobs.

                    • Ralphie says:

                      is a long way from the state reducing job growth.

                      That’s a real stretch; a hypothetical with a flawed premise.

                    • RedGreen says:

                      Is that legal? Have you considered that your admission you are charging tax for sales you suspect aren’t taxable might be the reason for your audit, not the fact you’re complaining about Roxy at every opportunity?

                    • DavidThi808 says:

                      Then one has to make a judgement call. We took the safe route.

                    • Diogenesdemar says:

                      I don’t know what compelled me to be so presumptive.  I know you dislike the system and its complexity, and I clearly don’t understand all, or even many, of the whys. I hope I’m not seeming as though I’m making light of your concerns or issues.

                    • DavidThi808 says:

                      I didn’t understand anything until we started looking at this. And I’m still learning. It’s not simple.

                  • Ralphie says:

                    Support is services.

                    What part of that is hard to understand?

                    If you’re not billing them separately, then maybe your business acumen needs to improve.

                    • DavidThi808 says:

                      For the same reasons it’s common practice in the software industry.

                    • … you pay sales tax on them.  Read the plain text of the link I posted.  You charge for them together, you collect sales tax on the whole package.  You separate them out, you can give your customers a break on the tax.

                      PS – if you sell updates and support together along with a license key, just a note for your company in advance: in some countries, software companies must offer an in perpetuity license option with no ongoing maintenance – software is still an actual product and not a contracted lease in some places.  IMHO it should be in this country, too.

                    • DavidThi808 says:

                      You just don’t get questions answered or new versions if you stop paying annual maintainance.

                    • That’s really IMHO the way it should be done anyway, and good for your company for doing it.

          • fatboy says:

            sales tax acts of 1935 and 1937 that had not only a sales tax on things, there was also a sales tax on services.  That would probably do a great deal to answer the study’s desire to tax a larger portion of economic activity.

          • gertie97 says:

            How do you impose a sales tax for services on the kid who mows your lawn, or the handyman who hauls trash away, or the visiting nurse?

            Do all of them have to join “the cloud” when few even have a computer?

            Try thinking about it where the real people live.

      • DavidThi808 says:

        That’s one of the reasons I don’t like them. But as I purchase a Yves St Laurent suit to wear to Whole Foods to purchase truffles – I don’t think giving me a sales tax break on those purchases is serving a public good (disclaimer – IRL I don’t own a suit and shop at King Soopers).

        I’d like to see it handled another way. Maybe no income tax on the first N dollars of income. Or a promise to focus adequate state resources on the poor so on balance it is more than fair.

        • sxp151 says:

          Food needs to be exempted from sales tax. There are some possible exceptions like taxes on soda and such, but broadly speaking necessities should be taxed minimally. Your examples of luxury items can be taxed as luxury goods; there’s no real moral issue there.

          But I’m more curious how you came to the conclusion that everything MUST be taxed and there MUST not be any exceptions. Is that just because it would make things slightly easier for you? Because it would make things much much worse for most other people. What was the thought process that led you to this extreme and poorly-justified position?

          • DavidThi808 says:

            I understand excepting basics and I don’t disagree with that. I also dislike sales tax because it’s regressive. But I also see problems with the exception.

            First it includes not just the necessities of life for the poor, but also very expensive food for the rich. So it’s not directly targeted.

            Second, you always have items that are questionable, like what candy still got a tax exemption and what didn’t. So effort goes into gaming that.

            As to would it make it any easier for me? Nope. We don’t sell food.

        • nancycronk says:

          and I think you know it is. You get 10 points for a funny example, though.

      • butterfly says:

        Sales Tax, Flat Tax – All terribly regressive!

    • DavidThi808 says:

      …would that require a vote (TABOR)? Or does expanding what is covered not require a vote? If no vote is required, then here’s a way to significantly increase tax revenue that the legislature can do on their own.

      • MADCO says:

        To eliminate exemptions, no TABOR vote is required. (see soda 2010).

        To add new categories- TABOR vote is required.

        So it depends on how the law is written. If only there was a requirement to provide transparency and visibility on allt he exemptions and their impacts.

      • GalapagoLarry says:

        to get rid of TABOR, 23, and maybe even Roxy and replace them with a constitutional structure to address all the findings of the review? A long shot, but, I’ll be happy to peddle the petitions, or whatever it takes. The whole kit and kaboodle needs to be changed. Besides: fuck TABOR.

  2. DavidThi808 says:

    The other big thing that jumped out at me from this is the costs the state faces will grow about 3% faster than income. The bottom line is that we have to cap state spending at a set percentage of state GDP. If it grows, no matter how small a rate, that exponential growth will eventually hit a percentage of GDP (well before 100) where the state will collapse.

    Yes we’re a bit below where we should have funding today. But say we had adequate funding levels today. In 2 years that same level would be “too low.” Simply increasing funding today is a short term solution. We also need to address the spending increase side.

    And key to that is medical costs.

    • Perhaps you haven’t noted some things the economists have been saying for the past several years.

      First, government budgets, in order to do their best by the economy, should be counter-cyclical.  That means that they explicitly CANNOT be tied to state GDP or they will be hamstrung at precisely the time they are needed to be strong.

      Second, healthcare costs are exceeding inflationary growth.  Yes, we need to reign that in, but I think strict and automatic caps based on GDP are a disincentive to doing the hard work needed to fix the problems our health care system has.

      • DavidThi808 says:

        It is saying that long term the cost for the state to provide its present level of services will grow faster than the state GDP. According to the study this disparity will hold into the foreseeable future.

        Yes the state needs to spend more when the economy goes south and spend less when things go well. But on average over the cycles it needs to be a constant part of our GDP.

        I don’t think we have any choice other than to cap state spending as a percentage of GDP (averaged over several years). Anything else will break us. And the cap won’t avoid doing the hard work to address health care costs – it will force us to face it.

        • But if you hamstring the government from spending during a recession by capping at GDP, you have the same problem we have with TABOR now, multiplied.

          At some point we have to break out of this mold that says that our state legislators must be morons and can’t be trusted to run the government that we elected them to run.

          • DavidThi808 says:

            My point is that over the long haul – over the ups and downs, the amount cannot grow over that time at a rate greater than our GDP. In a downturn yes we need to increase. But then in the upturn we need to decrease by the same amount.

            My concern is that the D.U. study says the state will need a large chunk of the GDP in good times as well as bad.

            • Things cost money.  We’ve been proportionally decreasing the amount of money coming in from various revenue sources for a long time now, and in this past recession we’ve been propped up by the Federal government.

              We haven’t increased gas taxes in ages, property taxes are being forced down constitutionally, we’ve been under the effects of TABOR and A-B for many years…  And then on top of that the government provides services that lately have exceeded economic growth indicators.

              So, speaking honestly, we need to increase the revenue stream significantly if we want to rejuvenate our government’s fiscal stability without cutting out the bare bones we’re already down to.

              • DavidThi808 says:

                But say you get tax receipts tomorrow to the level they should be at now. And lets say the economy runs fine for the next 10 years (like under Clinton).

                If at that time the cost of providing the needed services increases at a faster rate than the state GDP, we’re on an unsustainable course. And I see that when the study says educational costs will grow at 6% and medicaid at 8% annually when out GDP is growing at under 3%.

                That’s not a sustainable model.

              • Republican 36 says:

                In 1989 the state budget for higher education was $500 million. The proposed budget for next year is $520 million but the dollar today is only worth 25 cents compared to a dollar in 1989. The state’s contribution to higher education declined by almost 75% over the past twenty years because of TABOR and other amendments like Amendment 23. If we are going to provide affordable colleges and universities this simply can’t go on.

                In yesterday’s paper that can’t be named the study showed that under present revenue streams all new revenue between 2016 and 2025 will go to K-12, prisons and medicaid which means no additional funding for higher education or transportation.

                As things stand today, the right wing’s endless search to starve government in the bathtub is succeeding.  

                • RedGreen says:

                  Where are you finding that? A dollar today is worth 56 cents compared to a dollar in 1989, not 25 cents. (See this inflation calculator ).

                  Everything else you say is exactly right, but let’s get the numbers right.

                  • Republican 36 says:

                    I got my figure from a meeting I attended three weeks ago on higher education. I looked at your inflation calculator and double checked on two others and all three, as one would expect, came up with the same number.  The dollar today is worth 56% of what it was in 1989. I stand corrected.

                    • RedGreen says:

                      Let me repeat, I’m not challenging your underlying point.

                    • MADCO says:

                      But the CPI is not a fair measure for higher ed expenses.

                      Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of things consumers buy that schools do not buy.  And to the degree there is inflation in typical higher ed expenses, it has exceeded the CPI.

                      So- $0.25 may be low – but $0.56 is too high.

                      Either way- Colorado revenue is screwed until we fix it.  

  3. DavidThi808 says:

    It’s regressive, it reduces consumption which is the last thing the economy needs, it’s a giant PITA to collect. All very spot-on points.

    But there was a key item in the study that I think trumps all that. Income tax is highly volatile and not terribly predictable. Part of Colorado’s problem is the emphasis on income tax.

    So I’m open to alternatives, but we need something workable.

    • RedGreen says:

      Just ask Colorado Springs, an over-reliance on sales tax compared with other munis and counties is what got them in this mess. I don’t think “we should follow Colo Springs’ lead” is the best rallying cry.  

      • DavidThi808 says:

        And one of their main points was that income tax is a lot more volatile than sales tax.

        If there’s a strong argument to go income tax instead of sales tax, I do want to hear it. Because I think income tax makes a lot more sense both in fairness (if we make it progressive) and in reduced overhead.

        • c rork says:

          is the rapid shift in our economy from products to services.

          This is an important point:

          Colorado’s current revenue system could be made more productive and  flexible with measures that broaden revenue bases to capture a larger share of economic activity. This may be accompanied by lower rates and still result in a more productive and equitable revenue system.

          A progressive income tax can do this without any of the regressive side effects of a sales tax A.K.A., broadening the base and lowering rates for most people. I also think this can be sold to voters well. A talking point like,”75% of Coloradans will receive a tax cut under this plan”, might be very effective.

          Also, raising the corporate tax is a great option. Currently, corporations have the same tax rate as individuals.

          Combine both of these, and we have a plausible solution to changing some of the structural problems with the budget.

    • Not a single post here has mentioned the decline in corporate property taxes yet.  We have buildings that have been sitting mostly vacant since the economy was good, because there are incentives to building things that apparently outweigh any risk considerations.  And while all of this property is lying around, it isn’t generating, proportionally, the revenue that it used to.

      We need to re-evaluate the level of our severance taxes, too – I believe the last time we talked about the horrors of our new O&G regulations, it came up that we are one of the lowest severance taxes in the country.

      And we need to push to reevaluate capital gains taxes – at the national level.  With so much profit-taking going on in the speculative markets, why are we letting rich people get away with obscenely low tax rates on that income?

      A progressive income tax would be a Good Thing, IMHO.

      A simplified sales tax system would be nice, but you’d have to get the cities and counties to buy into whatever solution you propose.

      Increases in the gas tax, indexed at the very least to inflation, should also be considered.

      And I think it’s high time we started to re-evaluate school funding, possibly moving much more of the burden (and corresponding tax collection) to the state level.  The current situation is unsustainable and unfair to the poorer districts.

      There are so many bits of our tax code that have either lapsed or been tangled up in each other that I hope someone steps up to the plate to provide some comprehensive solutions.

  4. cunninjo says:

    Has anyone asked why it is they picked DU to do this analysis? I think I would have much rather seen a state institution perform it rather than a private one.  

  5. DavidThi808 says:

    The tax you should be paying

    In July 2010, the Main Street Fairness Act was introduced into Congress to try and level the playing field. The bill, supported by the NRF, would have created a universal sales tax code and required remote retailers to collect those taxes for states who agreed to the tax rates set forth in the bill.

    The argument is that by simplifying sales tax code (currently there are more than 7,500 different taxing jurisdictions, each with different tax codes), it would no longer be too onerous for remote retailers to collect sales tax — something that the Supreme Court case, Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, held.

    This sounds very workable although I wonder if Colorado would be willing to do this since all the home rule cities presently seem determined to each keep their own rules and system.

    As to why Amazon is fighting it, apparently the present complexity is too much even for them:

    When asked about the future of online sales tax in 2003, Amazon’s CFO, Tom Szkutak, said that collecting sales and use taxes on behalf of states, municipalities and other taxing jurisdictions is “inevitable, and it’s certainly something we support doing” — provided that the process is drastically simplified.

  6. fatboy says:

    you need to change more than tax statutes.  You are also going to have to address the home rule city issue.  I think what David is after is a single collector and single tax base like a state like Michigan has.  To do that the home rule cities have to go away.  Then you have to force the counties and the statutory cities to have the same tax base as the state.  Right now they have options on about a dozen different items.  The reason is during the Owens days they (the counties and cities) started really complaining that the general assembly was giving away the farm with the exemptions so they started giving the counties and statutory cities an opt in on the exemptions.

    There is actually an authorized vendor for a data base that the retailer that uses it is held harmless if it tells him the wrong jurisdictions.

    David, did you or your firm offer written comments on the proposed software regulations?  Did you or your firm attend the hearing on the software regulations?  If not, don’t bitch about the results.

    • RedGreen says:

      That might be the way they do things in Michigan. But to achieve David’s ease of sales tax collection, we’d also have to do away with the stadium district, SCFD and RTD. And tell cities like Lakewood and Fort Collins they can’t raise their sales tax like both did with voter approval in the past couple years. That’s a lot to throw out to make things easier for David’s company.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      Because I supported the concept of companies like mine paying their fair share. Because we had never had to interact with the Department of Revenue we didn’t even know there were all these tax districts or that DoR was incompetent.

      I’m not trying to get the tax eliminated, I’m trying to get it set up so it’s straightforward, simple, and competently administered.

      And yes I did make a mistake in assuming that the state would implement this competently and in a straightforward manner. Call this my rude awakening to understanding why so many business owners consider the state the enemy.

      • RedGreen says:

        David, it’s your customers that are paying the fair share. Your company, from what I understand, is unduly burdened having to calculate that share, but what you’re doing is collecting the tax from your customers and passing it on.

        And forgive me, but

        we didn’t even know there were all these tax districts

        does not inspire much sympathy. That’s a shocking ignorance of how Colorado municipalities, counties and special districts have operated basically forever. You assumed the implementation would be simple based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how complex sales tax is? … I’m not sure the state is to blame for that.

        • DavidThi808 says:

          I’ve never worked for a company that had to collect sales tax. So I never really thought about it. Yes it was a surprise as to me how complex it was. I don’t know if it’s reasonable to assume people who have not paid before should still have known how onerous the effort is.

          And you’re right that we just pass on the tax and our cost is the overhead but not the tax. But that overhead is substantial.

  7. st0ry says:

    Food, Clothing, and Shelter should not be taxed. These things are not optional purchase for anyone.

  8. dmindgo says:

    Here are a couple of things that I think would go a long way to solving some of the problems:  property tax on non-primary housing and the gas tax.  

    It sounds like the DU study hints that the gas tax is way behind.  A new format is needed, either a percentage of price, like sales tax, or a tax tied to an index so it will go up and down (w/ state GDP?).

    Property taxes need to be re-examined in general.  Gallagher has tied up the residential property taxes so they go down over time which has hurt local entities.  That kind of long-term problem needs to be addressed.  But I would also urge detangling second homes from primary ones for property tax.  The rate they would receive would have to be decided but it is difficult for the state to have those second homes taxed at such a low rate.

  9. thethinker says:

    “even with the solid economic recovery that is projected to take place, Colorado can’t grow itself out of it’s revenue problems.”

    It is getting ever more apparent that Colorado and the United States cannot “grow” their way to a better economy and a sound financial footing.

    In the last decade, the United States added 27 million people and Colorado 700,000 people.  Are we better off as a nation then we were 10 years ago.  Absolutely not.  We have a growing number of people in poverty, a growing gap between the haves and have nots, huge infrastructure deficits, a huge federal deficitn, etc.  Our quality of life is going down and our environment is increasingly under stress.

    It is time to take a serious look at our addiction to population and economic growth and come up with a new model.  One that would stabilize our population and allow a more “steady state economy” not dependent on endless, unsustainable, exponential growth.

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