John Hickenlooper — will have to consider how to replace money lost from the extraction of minerals, Kathy Hall, a former chairwoman of Club 20 and current transportation commissioner, told Lynne during Lynne’s keynote address to the Western Slope lobbying and promotional organization. “Every time we need to balance the budget, we go to the severance tax,” Hall said. Severance tax revenues, however, are slipping as coal production slips, replaced by cheaper natural gas and renewable energy sources that aren’t taxed. Colorado will have to deal with that, and other financial challenges, Lynne said, noting that one possible approach could be long-term budgeting instead of building spending plans a year at a time. Longer-term looks could give the state better opportunity to avoid crises, Lynne said. Hickenlooper appointed Lynne to be the lieutenant governor in 2016 and also charged her with the new position of being the state’s chief operating officer. The state also could use its heft in negotiating with health insurance carriers to increase competition in the rural health care market, Lynne said. Officials are preparing to seek requests from carriers for health insurance for the state’s 31,000 employees, who will have new coverage in 2019, Lynne said. With that kind of market, the state could use its heft to require that carriers also offer coverage in every county’s individual insurance market, Lynne said. Fourteen of Colorado’s 64 counties have only one insurance carrier, and another approach to increasing competition could be to require that carriers offer insurance in all health insurance markets, Lynne said.
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