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KUNC is here to keep you up-to-date on the news about COVID-19 — the disease caused by the novel coronavirus — Colorado's response to its spread in our state and its impact on Coloradans.

Colorado Lawmakers Reviewing Long List Of Potential Budget Cuts

Scott Franz/Capitol Coverage
Budget analysts have provided state lawmakers with a long list of potential cuts they can make to balance the budget during the coronavirus pandemic.

Colorado House Speaker KC Becker took to Twitter on Monday to vent about the grim task she and other state lawmakers will face next month when they return to the Capitol to try and write a budget during the coronavirus pandemic.

"About 1000 pages and maybe as many recommendations for state budget cuts that #coleg will be considering shortly," she wrote above a photo of giant binder of budget documents. "Just some light reading for the policy geeks out there. Ugh."

The giant binder of documents Becker is combing through includes several potential cuts for lawmakers to consider as they face a potential $3 billion deficit next year.

The items that could be on the chopping block range from grant funding to build new schools in rural districts to, under some worst-case scenarios, the funding for full-day kindergarten.

The kindergarten funding was Gov. Jared Polis' top legislative priority during his first year in office.

State budget analysts prepared a list of potential cuts for every state department. They include options for several scenarios ranging from a flat budget to one that needs to be cut by 20 percent.

The documents stress there is still much uncertainty in the state's budget. For example, analysts say the revenue projections have grown more dire since the last revenue forecast came out mid-March.

Those numbers, which reduced revenue projections made in January by nearly $1 billion, came out before the state's ski areas were closed along with restaurants, bars, movie theaters and other sales tax generators.

Now budget analysts are bracing lawmakers for what will be the difficult task of deciding which government programs will become victims of the coronavirus pandemic.

View the budget scenarios here.

Lawmakers will get an updated revenue forecast on May 12.

They hope to return to the Capitol on May 18 and agree on a new budget by June 1.

Scott Franz is an Investigative Reporter with KUNC.
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