Coronavirus could cost Colorado budget $800 million

By Alexander Burness

REPORTER HERALD

Colorado officials were briefed Monday on the state’s economic forecast, and it isn’t pretty: a slowdown that at best will last several months, and that will, at least in the short term, severely hamper the legislature’s ability to pay for any new programs in the next fiscal year.

Budget analysts told the state Joint Budget Committee that they remain hopeful that the negative economic impact will last months, not years, in Colorado. They acknowledged, though, significant uncertainty and risk, and “potential for a more protracted recession.”

The economic forecast states: “The cancellation of business travel has been widespread, demand for leisure travel is below levels following September 11, 2001, and major sporting and cultural events have been cancelled. These actions will ripple through the economy, and the full magnitude of their effect will not be known for some time.”

“We expect over the next four months to see the strongest impacts on the economy,” Kate Watkins, the chief economist for the state legislature, told the Joint Budget Committee on Monday.

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