Colorado finished the fiscal year with more tax revenue than economists anticipated, but analysts warned Wednesday that next year can produce slower growth.
Gov. John Hickenloopers economists said the state will finish the year with about $7.6 billion in general fund revenue, about $239.5 million more than economists had projected in March. Analysts said taxes on stock sales have boosted the latest numbers.
We are seeing job growth, but at the same time were still trying to crawl back to the point we were before the recession, said Henry Sobanet, Hickenloopers chief economist.
Economists said the figures show Colorado is faring better than the nation. However, Hickenloopers office noted that general fund revenue is still about $1 billion lower than it was five years ago when adjusted for inflation.
The latest quarterly revenue forecast concludes a fiscal year during which Colorados economy improved slowly. More tax revenue has prevented further budget cuts to schools and returned a property tax break for some seniors.
Colorados general fund this fiscal year will end with a $350 million surplus to be rolled over to next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
General fund revenue is expected to grow at a lower rate during the 2012-2013 fiscal year, when economists are projecting an increase of $77 million, or 1 percent.
Sobanet said the tax gains on stock sales is money that might not be repeated next year, but that state officials have set aside money to protect the state from a downturn.
Sobanet said economists are watching for possible federal budget cuts, but are more concerned about Europes economy and uncertainty over federal tax policy.
Legislative economists also released an economic forecast Wednesday, with projections similar to the governors office. Natalie Mullis, Legislatures chief economist, said that while Colorados economy appears to be improving, its not immune to outside forces.
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