3:13 pm - Wednesday December 16, 7361

Budget Battle Brewing

Kathleen Ryan

DENVER – A budget battle is looming in the federal government this fall, a fight which could cost Colorado more than a billion dollars in funding. Congress has until the end of the year to come to an agreement on a plan to reduce the federal government deficit. That’s because of the Budget Control Act of 2011, which gave lawmakers more than a year to tackle spending and reduce $1.2 trillion in debt over ten years. So far there’s no agreement, and if the House and Senate can’t come to some sort of a compromise, automatic cutbacks will be imposed.

Tax policy analyst Ali Mickelson of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy says those automatic cuts, known as sequestration, would be bad, but the alternative could be worse.

“If we have, in response to avoiding sequestration, sort of a rushed one-sided budget that goes through, that could potentially cost more jobs, more services; that could be bigger cuts.”

The CCLP has issued a report on its analysis of possible effects of sequestration in Colorado, and found the state would lose about $65 million in non-defense programs and more than $1 billion in federal defense funding. Colorado receives about a quarter of its state funding from the federal government.

Mickelson says the non-defense cuts would mostly affect education, and she fears partisan politics in an election year could prevent a workable solution.

“That’s sort of the reason why this sequestration is looming, because of the partisan divide. Nobody’s been able to agree, and that may continue to be the case.”

The report estimates sequestration would cost Colorado 1600 jobs in non-defense cuts alone.

The link to the full report can be found at www.cclponline.org.

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