Latest Colorado revenue forecast means larger TABOR refunds

Colorado is bringing in more and more tax revenue thanks to a strong economy, but that doesn’t mean lawmakers will be able to use much of that new money for public programs. That was the big message from a new state revenue forecast released Wednesday.

The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights limits how much tax revenue that the legislature can spend. The rest has to be sent back to residents.

"I think there were a lot of members hoping that good news today meant there was more money to increase essential services or increase support for public schools. But really more money at this point simply means larger TABOR refunds," said budget committee member Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver.

One big wildcard in the state’s economy right now is whether the price of oil will stay low over the next year, and what that will mean for the drilling industry.

State analysts say that impact is hard to predict.

The Legislature’s budget committee will use Wednesday’s numbers to finalize next year’s spending proposal. The budget debates will begin early next month.