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News outlets in Colorado reported last week that researchers at the University of Denver recommended tax hikes to fill yawning future budget gaps. In fact, the researchers made no recommendations. What they did was offer two scenarios for public consideration by which the state could meet its obligations (download the study summary). The first scenario included only program cuts. The second included only tax hikes. Even though the tax-hike scenario has already drawn fire, it is no radical proposal. The hikes, as detailed to the Colorado Independent by the director of the study, would establish rates that would still compare favorably with those in its neighbor-state competitors of the Great Plains and Mountain West.
As Washington again debated health reform last week, Coloradans enrolled in insurance giant WellPoint's Anthem individual group plan reeled from a 19.9 percent rate hike. Indianapolis-based WellPoint levied the double-digit increase here quietly in January, without a sound from Colorado lawmakers. A state insurance commissioner told the Independent he was unsurprised by the increase and "signed off" on it back in September.