fbpx

Colorado Budget: Then and Now

Dec 3, 2020 | 2019 Research, 2020 Research, Featured, Recent Research, State Budget

Share

A Snapshot of State Spending and How it has Changed Over the Last 21 Years

Updated – December 3, 2020

 

 

 


Downloads 2020 FINAL REPORT: PDF | POWERPOINT


THIS IS THE FOURTH ANNUAL RELEASE OF COLORADO BUDGET: THEN AND NOW

Colorado Budget: Then and Now presents a big picture view of how spending by the state of Colorado has changed over the past 20 years.  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. These charts should prompt more “Why?” questions and help frame the perpetual debate that shapes the priorities of our state government spending.

METHODOLOGY

The findings of this report are generated from the annual appropriations reports compiled by the Colorado Joint Budget Committee Staff. These reports draw from each of the annual legislative bills which authorizes funding for each state department. The reports provided to CSPR include appropriations from all funds including General Funds, Cash Funds, Federal Funds, Reappropriated Funds and Capital Construction Funds. Reappropriated Funds represent transfers of money from one agency to another after the initial appropriation. To avoid showing this double counting, all Reappropriated Funds were removed. Therefore this shows the departments that received the appropriation and not necessarily the department that eventually spent the money. However, as is the case with most of Higher Education, (which received 43% of all reappropriations in FY2020) some Reappropriated funds are transferred between agencies within the same department. Given Reappropriations were not explicitly separated in the appropriations reports for FY2000, a methodology was developed to remove the likely reappropriations from the reported category of Cash Funds Exempt by identifying funds labeled as “Transfers” and cross-referencing current list of Reappropriated Fund categories, to be able to create an appropriate comparison between years. Capital Construction Funds allocated to each department were added to the operating appropriations totals. For fiscal year 2000, capital construction allocations from just the Long Bill were included. Separate bills authorizing Capital Construction Fund appropriations were not included, however they are a relatively small dollar amount when compared to the Long Bill and total appropriations. The adjustments to appropriations to reflect spending per Coloradan after adjusting for inflation used data from the Colorado Office of Demography and the Consumer Price Index for the Denver MSA developed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Annual Appropriations

How much money does the state of Colorado spend annually?

Each year the state’s legislature approves a budget that dictates how public tax revenue will be allocated to the different government departments. The total amount of state appropriations through these legislative decisions is called total appropriations. The current budget cycle, fiscal year 2021, runs from July 1, 2020 through June 31, 2021. As of November 2020, the total appropriations for FY 2021 are expected to be $30,620,282,070.

State government spending flow of tax revenue to state departments

The image above displays the flow of state appropriations from the tax revenue source to the state department that is authorized to spend the revenue by the state legislature. There are many different state agencies within each department, but for the purpose of this report, appropriations are only shown by the fund or department type. For formatting purposes, state departments with an * are often combined in the following figures and labeled as “Other Departments.” Combined, these other departments represent 10% of total appropriations.

Colorado Total Appropriations by Fund Type in FY21

The total appropriations in FY21 are $30,620,282,070. In FY21, the general fund appropriations were 35.5% of total appropriations, federal funds were appropriated 32.5%, cash funds were appropriated 31.5%, and capital construction funds made up less than a percent of the total appropriations in FY21.

Change in Total Appropriations By Department

From FY19 to the FY22 Governor’s Budget Request (units in thousands)

 Colorado

The total appropriations in FY19 were $29.02B and $31.52B in FY20. The initial FY21 appropriations are set to be $30.46B in FY21 and requested to be $32.35B in FY22. The December 2020 special legislative session is expected to increase FY21 spending significantly which will ultimately change the current reported figures. Current estimates suggest a net $1.07B decrease from FY20 to FY21. Despite significant reductions in all other department appropriations from FY20 to FY21, health care policy and financing (HCPF) increased 11.7%. Based on current Governor’s request significant levels of education funding will be restored in FY22. From FY21 to FY22, higher education increased 16.4% and education 14.1%.

Change in General Fund Appropriations By Department

From FY19 to the FY22 Governor’s Budget Request (units in thousands)

From FY19 to FY20 General Fund appropriations grew by $604M. Between FY20 and FY21 General Fund appropriations declined by $1.2B yet are expected to increase by $1.7B in the FY22 Budget based on the initial budget request. The December 2020 special legislative session is expected to increase FY21 spending significantly which will ultimately change the currently reported figures. From FY20 to FY21, higher education spending decreased 46% and HCPF increased 7%. Other departments such as corrections and human services shrunk 6% from FY20 to FY21.

FY20 Total Colorado Appropriations Before COVID-19 Compared to Final (units in thousands)

The net impact on all appropriations are reflected in the above table as there was a net difference of -$174.3M from initial FY20 GF appropriations to the final FY20 GF appropriations. Given the pandemic occurred late into the FY20 budget cycle most state funds had already been spent. The Governor did implement an austerity program to reduce state spending in the 2nd Quarter of 2020, however the net change was also impacted by some increases in federal funding.

Colorado General Fund Total Appropriations to Each Department in FY21 (units in thousands)

The 6 departments of corrections, education, HCPF, higher education, human services, and judicial make up 92.3% of general fund appropriations in FY21. The other 16 departments are 7.7% of General Fund appropriations in FY21. Often money is transferred from the General Fund to the Highway Trust Fund to be used for Transportation projects. The transfer does not show up as an appropriation.

FY20 Total General Fund Appropriations Before COVID-19 Compared to Final (units in thousands)

The net impact on all appropriations are reflected in the above table as there was a net difference of -$174.3M from initial FY20 GF appropriations to the final FY20 GF appropriations. Given the pandemic occurred late into the FY20 budget cycle most state funds had already been spent. The Governor did implement an austerity program to reduce state spending in the 2nd Quarter of 2020, however the net change was also impacted by some increases in federal funding.

Colorado Total Appropriations to Each Department in FY21 (units in thousands)

The top five departments, HCPF, education, higher education, human services, and transportation were appropriated 83% of the budget in FY21. The appropriations to the other 17 departments totaled 17.3%. Departments such as labor and employment, and legislative department are less than 1% of the total appropriations. The Governors FY22 budget request estimates that these five departments will be 89% of the total statewide appropriations. 

Colorado General Fund Total Appropriations to Each Department in FY21 (units in thousands)

 

General fund appropriations increased for almost all departments from FY01 to FY21. Education appropriations grew 83.3% from FY01 to FY21, whereas HCPF appropriations grew 213% from FY01 to FY21. Unlike health care, Colorado’s department of education relies primarily on general fund spending, which is why both education and higher education are appropriated 41.7% of the total general fund budget in FY21.

General Fund Appropriations by Department in FY01 and FY21

From FY01 to FY21 HCPF, transportation, and public safety were some of the only departments to increase in their share of total appropriations. The share of appropriations to HCPF accelerated in last decade from FY11 to FY21, growing by 12.77%, whereas education decreased 4.73%. Judicial, public safety, public health and environment, and transportation’s share of total appropriations shrunk less than two percent between FY01 and FY21.

The Difference in the Share of Colorado’s Total Appropriations

 

From FY01 to FY21 HCPF, transportation, and public safety were some of the only departments to increase in their share of total appropriations. The share of appropriations to HCPF accelerated in last decade from FY11 to FY21, growing by 12.77%, whereas education decreased 4.73%. Judicial, public safety, public health and environment, and transportation’s share of total appropriations shrunk less than two percent between FY01 and FY21.

The Difference in the Share of Colorado’s General Fund Appropriations

Most departments decreased from FY01 to FY11, this could be attributed to the extended impact of the Great Recession. HCPF total appropriations expanded 213% from FY01 to F21 whereas higher education decreased 19.1% and education grew 83.3% over the duration.

Total State Appropriations per Coloradan Citizen

After adjusting for inflation and population growth total state government appropriations per Coloradan increased 65% from FY01 to FY21, while the Colorado population grew 30% from FY01 to FY21. Population estimates come from the Colorado Demographers Office and annual inflation is derived from the Denver MSA CPI developed by BEA.

 


Downloads 2019 FINAL REPORT: PDF | POWERPOINT