What are Colorado’s fiscal challenges?
- Coloradans have made clear they expect state and local governments to fund good schools, maintain roads and bridges, provide fire and police protection, and support the most vulnerable members of our communities.
- State revenues, however, are not sufficient to meet these expectations in the short-term or long-term.
- Colorado’s General Fund revenue in 2010 was nearly the same as 2001. Yet, the state population has grown by more than 700,000 people and inflation has gone up, on average, about 3 percent per year this decade.
- Constitutional measures adopted at various times by voters in the last 30 years also complicate the ability of the state government to fund these services and programs Coloradans think are important.
- Helping fellow Coloradans understand the effects of the state’s revenue challenges is especially important because so many issues with far reaching implications must be decided by voters.
What do Colorado’s fiscal challenges and nonprofits have in common?
When governments reduce funding for social programs, many nonprofits fill the gaps. Nonprofits are trusted, nonpartisan voices that can engage neighbors in meaningful civic conversations through their extensive community-based networks. Under Colorado’s constitution, these neighbors are also the voters who make fundamental decisions on fiscal policy on state and local ballots. Forming a consensus takes the kind of neighbor-to-neighbor conversations that nonprofits are uniquely positioned to facilitate.
About the Fiscal Education Network
The Fiscal Education Network provided Colorado nonprofits with information about the state’s long-term fiscal challenges and the tools to encourage community and value based discussion of these issues. The Network supported an informed nonprofit network ready to confront Colorado’s long-term fiscal challenges through:
- Monthly webinars and regional training sessions. These trainings provided an overview of state fiscal issues, “community conversation packages” to hold tailored, local discussions, and peer to peer learning opportunities.
- Organizing a Speakers’ Bureau to identity and coordinate local presentations.
- Sharing resources and providing key resource guides for nonprofits.
By providing all of the following resources, we reached over 1,000 nonprofits across Colorado and helped convene 250 conversations in their communities to build public awareness and promote discussions of the state’s long-term fiscal challenges:
- Colorado’s Budget: In Plain Talk video (YouTube)
- Fiscal Education Network - Resources
- Fiscal Education Network - Conversation Tools