2.26.2009

Enacting Legislation for Amendment 50 (Expanded Gaming)

In November voters passed Amendment 50, which expands gambling to include higher bets and new games. The extra money would then go to community colleges. The problem with implementation, however, is that nobody knows how much extra money the new rules will bring in, so HB09-1272 has been introduced to determine how much money should go to community colleges and how much should continue to fund programs like the State Historical Fund, which voters approved to give gaming money to the restoration of historic buildings. The bill is currently in the Senate.

For statistics on gaming revenues in Colorado, see Industry Statistics; Statement of Gaming Revenues; and the monthly newsletter, Gaming Update.

For other information on gaming in Colorado, see Understanding How a Slot Machine Works; Gaming Impacts the Colorado Economy; What are the Facts? Limited Gaming Information Booklet; and Gaming in Colorado Fact Book & [Annual] Abstract.

For information on the State Historical Fund and its relationship to gaming, see Guide to Colorado Historic Places: Sites Supported by the Colorado Historical Society's State Historical Fund; The Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation in Colorado; Saving Colorado's Treasures (DVD); State Historical Fund Annual Report; and Riches and Regrets: Betting on Gambling in Two Colorado Mountain Towns.

All of the above listed items are available from our library.

2.19.2009

The Arveschoug-Bird Spending Limit

With the current economic situation, a major focus of the state legislature this session has been the budget. According to the Rocky Mountain News, a bi-partisan-sponsored bill is expected to be introduced that would, if passed, do away with the Arveschoug-Bird 6% general fund spending limit, in place since 1991. For an explanation of how Arveschoug-Bird works, see the Office of Legislative Legal Services' fact sheet on Arveschoug-Bird. I will post information on the bill as soon as it has been introduced, so check back here soon.

2.18.2009

Furloughs

The current economic crisis has led the governor and the general assembly to consider ways to cut spending to accomodate the budget shortfall. One suggested option is mandatory furloughs for state employees. The governor's budget recommendations include five furlough days for the 2009-10 fiscal year.

The joint budget committee recommended against using furloughs, concluding that the benefits of furloughs for the state budget were offset by concerns over how state services would be affected.

However, mandatory furloughs for state employees are not yet off the table. Representative King has introduced HB 1221 requiring 1-2 furlough days a month for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 fiscal years.The bill will come before the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee for discussion tomorrow (February 19).

You can listen to audio broadcasts of the committee proceedings from the General Assembly website. The State Veterans and Military Affairs committee is scheduled to meet in House Committee Room 112 at 8:00am.

2.12.2009

Conservation Easements

With the current budget crisis, conservation easements are a frequent topic of discussion, particularly in regards to rural areas of Colorado. This legislative session, a bill has been introduced regarding oversight of conservation easements, HB09-1014. To find out more about what conservation easements do, you may want to consult some resources that can be found here at our library, including Update on Conservation Easement Guidelines: What Every Colorado Landowner Should Know, from the Colorado State University Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. (The link is to a 2007 document, but an updated and expanded 2008 version can be checked out from our library). Also, CSU published in 2002 the Colorado Landowner Conservation Easement Survey, a helpful resource for understanding Coloradans' views on conservation easements. Finally, visit the Colorado Division of Real Estate's Conservation Easement Oversight Commission website for more information.

2.10.2009

Foreclosures

In an effort to aid homeowners, the state legislature is introducing a "foreclosure timeout bill" which gives homeowners a 90-day moratorium on foreclosure so they have a chance to renegotiate their mortgages before losing their home. The text of HB 09-1276 is available on the General Assembly website.

The Colorado Foreclosure Hotline (1-877-601-HOPE) is another source of assistance. The hotline is a free service for Colorado homeowners who have questions about their home loans. Counselors can assist borrowers who are concerned about missing future loan payments, homeowners in the middle of foreclosure, and borrowers who are having trouble communicating with their financial institutions.

Foreclosure reports and other data are available from the Colorado Division of Housing. They also have a nice collection of general information for homebuyers and homeowners.

2.04.2009

Business Express

There is a new tool available for small business owners on colorado.gov called "Business Express." There are quick links to information on starting a business in Colorado, licensing, finding capital, and tax forms. By selecting from a list of topics you can also create a "custom resource guide", a list of links to state agency websites with business information.

"Business Express" was created through a partnership between the Office of Economic Development and International Trade,Department of Revenue, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Regulatory Agencies, Secretary of State’s Office, and the Internal Revenue Service.

Additional resources can be found on colorado.gov's business portal.