Colorado’s budget has grown significantly over the last 20 years, according to a budget analysis from a Colorado think tank.
The Common Sense Policy Roundtable compared the $9.2 billion the state appropriated in 2000 with total appropriations projected to be over $30.6 billion for 2020, a more than tripling of state spending.
State government on average spends $5,264 per Coloradan when adjusted for inflation, the report said. That’s up from $4,743 per person in 2010 and $3,342 per person in 2000.
“Leading into the 2020 legislative session, it is important to be aware of the history of spending and the entirety of the budget, along with a focus on singular issues,” CSPR Director of Policy and Research Chris Brown said in a statement. “After adjusting for inflation and population growth, the state of Colorado is spending more money per person than ever before.”
Of the $30,67 billion the state expects to appropriate this fiscal year, nearly $12.2 billion comes from the general fund, $8.7 billion comes from federal funds, $9.5 billion comes from cash funds, and $260.7 million from capital construction funds.
The percentage of all government spending going to health care has surpassed education spending in the last two decades, the analysis found.
Currently, 34.6 percent of spending goes to health care and financing, up from 21.5 percent in 2000. Both K-12 education and higher education account for a combined 33.5 percent, down from a combined 43.5 percent in 2000.
“Over each of the past two decades, the relative share of total spending has shifted significantly for some departments,” the analysis said. “While spending on Health Care Policy and Financing, Transportation, Public Safety and Judicial saw relative increases, largely because of either increases in federal revenue or fees, education, which receives most of its funding from the General Fund, saw its relative share of spending decline by just over 5 percent.”