Fiscal and Budget | The Bell Policy Center

The Bell Policy Center seeks to use constitutional reform and tax modernization to ensure adequate funding for public services that help families get ahead and stay ahead. Colorado’s public sector is a key partner in creating conditions that foster opportunity, but it faces structural challenges that threaten its ability to play that role:

  • Outdated tax system. Our tax system is inefficient and outdated, meaning it cannot keep pace with economic growth, an aging population, rising health costs or our education and workforce needs.
  • Contradictory constitution. The ability to modernize that system is limited by complicated and contradictory requirements in the state constitution — requirements that can only be reformed through costly ballot measures. 
  • Underfunded education. Our K-12 education system is almost $1 billion below the level approved by voters, and our colleges and universities are one major recession away from losing state funding entirely.
  • Inattention to aging population. The state has done virtually nothing to prepare for the long-term care and other needs of its rapidly aging population. 

All of this is why fiscal reform has been at the top of our agenda since day one. We authored the report in 2003 that galvanized the movement for change, and we continue to be a leader of that movement.

Current priorities:

  • Ballot effort to provide additional revenue. Partner with a wide range of parties on a ballot effort to provide additional revenues and increase flexibility for state budgeters.
  • Wholesale tax reform. Develop options for modernizing Colorado’s tax system, including a progressive income tax, a broader sales tax and a reformed severance tax.


Mar 22, 2017
President Trump released his "Skinny Budget" March 16, a broad outline of his priorities for the federal budget.  He proposes to increase spending on defense by $54 billion and pay for it with cuts to other areas. Based on our initial review of the data provided, we find his budget to be shortsighted.  It chokes off investments that pr...
Jan 24, 2017
On Sunday, the Denver Post published my response to a column by Jon Caldara, a long-time voice against any public investment. (Click...
Dec 29, 2016
Co-founder Jean Dubofsky shares why she helped to found the Bell, and why investing in its work remains so important.
Dec 20, 2016
The Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee received a briefing this morning projecting the amount of revenues the state will receive over the next three years.  Here are four things you need to know about the projections made by economists from th...
Nov 9, 2016
Back in 2000, when the Bell Policy Center was founded, Colorado progressives weren't being heard. You’ll recall that progressives had fleeting influence in our state legislature, conservatives had taken control of the federal government, and it seemed like the progressive message about opportunity just couldn’t compete with the mantra of low taxes,...