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  • A Billion Dollars Worth of Bad Ideas: Amendment 66 Tax Hike0

    • October 3, 2013

    Amendment 66 would replace Colorado’s flat income tax of 4.63 percent of federal adjusted gross income with the two bracket system shown in Table 1: Colorado Income Tax Rates if Amendment 66 Passes. Passing Amendment 66 also passes SB13-213, the new 141-page state school finance law.

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  • PERA’s Problems in 20130

    • September 18, 2013

    The trajectory of the Public Employee Retirement Association of Colorado’s (PERA) financial condition has been anything but linear. From times of seeming excess to times of projections for failure, the public employee pension scheme has changed radically over time. As of 2013, expected improvements to the system’s outlook have not materialized, and PERA is once again in crisis. While far from alone in the gov- ernment employee problem, Colorado may be facing one of the worst current circumstances.

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  • Colorado’s Competitive Standing to Attract Business0

    • February 22, 2013

    This paper explores a compilation of Colorado rankings from the “2013 State and Business Tax Climate Index.”

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  • Preventing Bankruptcy in State and Local Pension Plans in Colorado0

    • August 22, 2012

    State and local governments report the funding status of their pension plans in financial statements following standards set by the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB). Historically, those standards allowed state and local governments to use an actuarial model and to discount liabilities based on the long-term yield on the assets held in the pension fund. The Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA) uses an 8 percent discount rate comparable to that used in most state and local pension plans. GASB also allowed state and local governments to use a smoothing technique to calculate the funding status of the plans. With this smoothing technique, losses incurred on assets in one year could be averaged over several years.

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  • Does Colorado Fail to Spend State Taxes on Services?0

    • June 29, 2012

    Policy debates frequently turn on whether the government is spending at a reasonable level, and that is defined by the relative spending in other states. Relatively low rankings are presumed to indicate of under-spending by Colorado governments. The low rankings, however, are inconsistent with Colorado’s overall ranking for tax burden, which is close to the national median. We examine many claims relating to Colorado government spending overall, in K-12 education, in higher education, and in healthcare, and we conclude that most are misinterpreted or overstated. Colorado collects the national average in taxes,
    so how could it be that support for government programs is so uniformly near the bottom?

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  • Solving the Funding Crises in PERA0

    • May 18, 2012

    The paper is based on testimony presented to the Senate Finance Committee regarding the soundness of the Public Employees Retirement Association fund. Dr. Poulson recommends steps to fix the actuarial problems, and modifying the retirement.

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