Before I go into my spiel of how hugely important this project is, let me give you some important links. First, here is the direct link to the full Citizens’ Budget file. Secondly, here is the Fiscal Policy Center webpage that you can give to others interested in our project. It will be updated later with PDF’s of each individual section and an executive summary. Now onto why this project is so important for Colorado…
Nearly every Colorado citizen has been affected by the downturn in the economy and its current slow recovery. Governments at all levels also have had to adjust. Just as the private sector is unlikely to see a big rebound in wages and salaries, or businesses find their coffers suddenly full of robust profits, our public servants face similar troubles ahead. Fiscal circumstances will be made worse in the coming years as the federal government expects to curtail its level of subsidies to the states. Colorado’s budgeters won’t be able to find any more accounting gimmicks. Programs cannot continue to expand. Is the only answer to raid family savings accounts and businesses’ incomes with new taxes and fees? If so, what will that do to the desirability of living and working in Colorado? Will we be able to provide an improved standard of living for Colorado’s residents? What do we do to keep appropriate government services at an adequate level?
The Independence Institute brought together a strong team of people who have the insights and the experience to suggest different ways of doing business. My thanks to the many writers and volunteers who made this report possible. They have provided citizens with many ideas and offered elected leaders solutions to difficult policy questions. Let me be clear. There is no easy answer to Colorado’s budget challenge. It will take political courage. People who care very deeply about the public storm ahead are willing to do the right thing, but must protect their defense of spending limits from retribution by powerful interests; therefore, they are understandably reluctant to be publicly associated with this ground-breaking and wide-reaching work. Allow the content alone be the full measure of the credibility of the report. The ideas contained herein are worthy of discussion and stand as their own defense.
The General Assembly over the course of the next several years must make difficult decisions and will dramatically shape our state’s economy. Its debates will echo the important question about the nature of government that is being carried out in Washington, D.C. Will we as a People expect only those public goods that allow for a vibrant, growing private sector, or will we demand an ever-larger, more intrusive government on which we depend for our every need and decision?
Let us engage the debate.