Given that more than 475,000 Colorado residents have filed for unemployment benefits the past two months, and with the state facing a projected $3 billion revenue shortfall because of the COVID-19 outbreak, major cuts are looming everywhere, Betsy Markey, executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade told the Colorado Economic Development Commission on Thursday morning during a video meeting.
OEDIT received a $58.7 million appropriation this fiscal year, according to its FY 2020 Performance Plan. The Joint Budget Committee is looking to trim 27% from OEDIT’s allotment for the next fiscal year.
Markey detailed some of the specific cuts being proposed, noting that things could change by June. The Colorado Tourism Office is looking at a 37% cut in its budget. That includes money to fund marketing campaigns to bring tourists back to the state in the summer of 2021 and beyond.
Colorado Creative Industries, which to foster the arts and cultural activities in communities across the state, is facing a 75% cut in funding. The JBC plans to provide the minimum needed to win a match in federal dollars.
The state’s Office of Film, Television & Media, which has already had its allotment severely slashed in recent years, is looking at a 62% cut in funding, which could spell the death knell for the state’s nascent film production industry. And the Outdoor Recreation Office, a relatively new program, is looking at a 33% cut to its budget.
Global Business Development, which helps recruit companies to the state and promote trade, should see much of its funding preserved, Markey said. It oversees the state’s Small Business Development Centers, which have helped business owners navigate the downturn and obtain CARES Act assistance.
Business Funding & Incentive is expected to take a hit, especially for programs dependent on cash funds, like the Advanced Industries program, which is funded through taxes on gaming revenues that have all but dried up.
“We are working hard to make sure the legislature understands the importance of the economic tools we have. They will be instrumental in helping us recover from the pandemic,” Markey said.
If cuts do come down, OEDIT will try to manage them in ways that don’t damage economic recovery programs and perpetuate future revenue shortfalls.
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