The Fiscal Impact of Creating Civil Unions on Colorado’s Budget

By Jody Herman, Craig Konnoth, M.V. Lee Badgett
February 2011

This analysis estimates the impact on Colorado’s state budget of introducing civil union rights for same-sex and different-sex couples. Using the best data available, we estimate that a law recognizing civil unions for same-sex and different-sex partners will garner the State $4.8 million over the three years following the law’s implementation. The benefits accrued will change every year, as the number of couples entering civil unions each year will change. The State will gain approximately $1.4 million in the first year after offering these rights (Year 1), $1.6 million in the second year (Year 2), and $1.8 million in the third year (Year 3). This net impact will be the result of savings in expenditures on state means-tested public benefit programs, an increase in state license fees, and sales tax revenues.

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