Uncertainty looms over state budget, higher ed funding

Downgraded economic forecast, legislative shutdown lead to doubt
By Staff

In an unprecedented move during unprecedented times, the Colorado state Capitol Democratic and Republican legislators voted to recess the 2020 legislative session because of COVID-19.

Our government affairs and budget teams are working with the Joint Budget Committee and other legislative leaders to determine what funding for higher education will look like with the dramatic decline in the revenue forecasts issued on Monday by both Legislative Council and the Office of State Planning and Budgeting. There is nearly $1 billion less revenue available compared to what had been projected in December.

“We’re doing everything we can to minimize the long-term economic impact of this global pandemic and ensure that Colorado is prepared to come back stronger than before when this crisis is over,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement.

Our CU government affairs lobbying team advocated a 7% state funding increase for higher education, which was approved by the JBC on March 10. This decision would have resulted in CU receiving a state funding increase of about 6%. The JBC also approved tuition rate authority of up to 3% for governing boards around the state.

These JBC decisions will now be revisited because of how the coronavirus is forecasted to impact state revenues. Higher education will not be alone: All of the JBC’s prior decisions will now be reconsidered. The Legislature is expected to reconvene on March 30, however given the recent closures, we anticipate they could push that date back.

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