Sounds responsible to me: “At this time, there are too many unanswered questions surrounding the development of oil shale. We continue to support the research, development and demonstration process now underway, but the RD&D process should be completed prior to the issuance of commercial oil shale leases and prior to the finalization of any regulations.” (Gov. Ritter’s press release regarding oil shale development.) In Republican-land, there will never be enough RD&D about climate change. Oil shale development? No RD&D or regulations needed.
The Governor’s Quarterly Economic and Revenue Forecast report has been issued and can be seen here (pdf).
Highlights from the Revenue Forecast:
- A combination of slowing economic growth and the near-term negative revenue impacts from the federal stimulus package resulted in a decrease in the outlook for General Fund revenue, as the forecast was decreased by approximately $127 million (1.6%) for FY 2007-08, signaling a slight weakening of the Colorado economy.
- The consensus forecast for severance taxes conducted with Legislative Council Staff was essentially unchanged for FY 2007-08, but was increased in the out years of the forecast to match higher expectations of future gas prices.
- Total general fund revenues for 2006-07 increased 8.3 percent, and are expected to continue growing, but at slower rates over the forecast period as moderate slowing in the national economy influences the Colorado economy, particularly through tourism.
- The forecast shows transportation funding through SB 97-1 and HB 1310 transfers totaling over $1 billion for five-year forecast period, after receiving $394.7 million in FY 2006-07.
- Under the provisions of Referendum C, the state is projected to retain $6.24 billion from fiscal 2005-06 through 2009-10. The $30 million increase in this figure over December forecast figures occurs due to lower-than-expected inflation offsetting the decreases in expected revenue. A TABOR refund of $40.1 million is expected in FY 2011-12.
Highlights from the Economic Forecast:
- The forecasts for most Colorado economic indicators were largely decreased slightly for the near-term, as expectations of growth in both the national and local economies declined.
The Washington state legislature passed a bill this year that requires reduction of greenhouse gases by 50% below 1990 levels by 2050 and provides funding for green collar jobs. I want to emphasize the measuring stick: too many other GHG emission bills use 2005 or 1995 as the baseline. The earlier the year, the more challenging the target and the more emissions will be prevented. Congratulations to Washington – this is an impressive achievement.
Total debt held by the government: 9,392,558,361,529.10. That’s $9.4 Trillion, which is $3.7 Trillion more than the debt when Bush took office, an increase of 64%! That bill will come due someday, folks.
Speaking of legislation, Oregon (on a trial three-week even-year session) did some good things:
- Energy efficiency in government was given a boost by a bill that requires state agencies to reduce their energy consumption 20% by 2015.
- Clean energy and green jobs were bolstered by legislation that expanded tax credits to renewable energy equipment manufacturers. The credits were doubled from $20 to $40 million dollars.
Wyoming’s legislature passes the following:
- $20 million for a joint University of Wyoming elk and General Electric project establishing a research facility to study ways to reduce carbon emissions from coal production.
- HB 90 appropriates $250,000 to the Department of Environmental Quality to regulate the capture and injection of carbon dioxide into the earth.
Utah’s legislature approved Clean Air and Efficient Vehicle Tax Incentives, a $750 tax credit for vehicles meeting higher air quality and fuel efficiency standards.