It is clear that state governments across the nation face serious challenges. Falling revenues, service cutbacks, deteriorating infrastructure, struggling schools and personnel layoffs are but some of the woes confronting virtually every state, including Colorado.
It is a crisis that questions the viability of states; a topic of fundamental importance that deserves careful study, factually-based perspectives and reasoned discourse. Providing a forum for such thoughtful discussion is the purpose of the strategic issues program.
The central questions before the panel were two:
"What principles should guide the role, responsibilities and funding of state governments in the 21st century?"
"How should those principles be applied in Colorado?"
These questions address fundamental issues of state effectiveness, transparency, stewardship, performance and responsiveness. They enquire into the basic nature of state government: its role, functions, responsibilities, relationships, effectiveness, organization, financing and more. For Colorado, the answers to these questions will shape the future of our state.
As with prior panels, the panel on the Future of State Government was non-partisan and composed of accomplished citizens from various segments of the community. Panel members were appointed by the Chancellor of the University of Denver. Through a process of informed dialogue, the panel reached a consensus and provided its recommendations on the issue in its report.
Beginning in the fall of 2010, a number of local and national speakers addressed the panel on the topic of state government from multiple perspectives. Panel members weighed the research and opinions presented and engaged in discussions based on the information received and each panelist's own views and experience. They identified goals to be achieved, problems to be solved, made findings of fact, suggested principles for 21st century state government and provided specific recommendations for Colorado.
In pursuing its charge, the panel is free to develop such conclusions as panel members consider appropriate. The panel's final report, issued on Monday October 3, 2011, has been widely shared with the general public, the media, public officials, business and community leaders, and other interested parties. Read the report