Gov. Bill Ritter had just given his recommendations for the 2008 state budget before lawmakers on the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) last week when Sen. Steve Johnson (R-Ft. Collins) asked for the governor’s thoughts on the high-priority funding needs around transportation, health care and higher education, and the 2008 ballot.Depending on the recommendations from standing blue-ribbon panels on transportation, health care and education, Coloradan voters may see a tax increase proposal on the 2008 ballot, Ritter answered, adding that it should be for one thing.
“At this time, there are no specific proposals from Gov. Ritter,” said Ritter spokesperson Evan Dreyer. “We are engaged in ongoing discussions about whether we need to go to the ballot in 2008, and if so, on which issue.”
Also, Ritter did not expound on what tax proposal he is considering, such as increasing property taxes or the state’s sales tax or upping the rate on mineral extraction severance taxes.
“All options are on the table,” said Dreyer.
Last month before a group of Western Slope business and government representatives, Ritter noted that the transportation panel was looking at severance taxes as a possible revenue source.
The legislative severance tax committee members have also considered funneling more federal mineral leasing dollars to higher education.
Ritter’s 2008 $18 billion budget proposal to the JBC included an almost $1 billion increase from 2007. The state’s fiscal year starts in July.
Photo of Gov. Bill Ritter in Grand Junction by Leslie Robinson