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Sunday, April 26, 2015

State News: Sending Out an SOS on Budget Cuts at the Capitol Tuesday

They say they’re rallying to call for an end to the “budget bleeding” Tuesday in Denver. More than 40 organizations, along with local faith leaders, social service providers, furloughed state employees and other people affected by state budget cuts, will be on the west Capitol steps at noon to protest the latest round of proposed cuts.

Carol Hedges, senior fiscal analyst with the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, says years of cuts have led to a lower level of public services than back in 1992, as a percentage of the total economy.

“Colorado can’t cut its way back to prosperity, nor can families continue shouldering the burden of our broken budget — all options need to be on the table.”

Hedges says the state could increase revenue by taking a closer look at some income and sales tax deductions, and by doing a better job of collecting owed taxes.

“If we’d just invest a little bit more money, we could make sure we have the auditors and compliance folks in place to make that happen.”

Hedges says a few of the most troubling cuts would have ramifications statewide and reduce capacity at key long-term care facilities, “in Grand Junction and here in Fort Logan, and they would scale back reimbursement rates for home health care.”

The governor’s office announced $320 million in cuts last month that include eliminating more than 200 state positions and cuts to Medicaid providers. Budget director Todd Saliman said the cuts were necessary to balance the budget. Hedges says other revenue options should be considered, such as closing tax loopholes for corporations and out-of-state partners operating in Colorado.

— Colorado News Connection

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More than 40 organizations will be on the west Capitol steps at noon Tuesday to protest the latest round of proposed cuts.
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