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  • Outdated tax system. Our tax system is inefficient and outdated, meaning it cannot keep pace with economic growth, an aging population, rising health costs or our education and workforce needs.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.


Nov 13, 2017
The Governor’s 2018-19 Budget Request was released on Nov. 1 and he presented it this morning in front of the Joint Budget Committee. Following a seven-year stretch that saw the end of the worst recession since the Great Depression and unprecedented growth that has made our state’s economic activity the envy of many in the...
Aug 11, 2017
While at the NCSL Legislative Summit in Boston, I attended a session entitled, “What Happened to the American Dream?” Several of the presentation’s key takeaways will help inform our work promoting economic opportunity in Colorado. Robert Manduca...
Aug 9, 2017
Colorado’s total state budget is $29 billion. That's right; billion with a "B." That’s a big number. It’s bigger this year than it was two years ago.   All too often, Colorado’s most extreme conservatives use these oversimplified statements as if they are some kind of thunderclap in the raging debate over our state’s finances. It'...
Aug 9, 2017
The sun was scorching and the peaches were ripe as Scott, Rich, and I trekked to Grand Junction to spend two days talking with community leaders, health and human services organizations, and the editorial board of the Grand Junction Sentinel.   The trip served as a ...
Jul 27, 2017
The ill-conceived Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) was voted down earlier this week, but the bill's proponents have another bad idea waiting in the wings.   A ...