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Colorado

Flag of Colorado

Seal

Nickname(s): The Centennial State

Motto(s): Nil sine numine

«Nothing without Providence»‘

Official language(s) English

Demonym Coloradan

Capital Denver

Largest city Denver

Largest metro area Denver-Aurora Metro Area

Area  Ranked 8th in the US

 — Total 104,185 sq mi

(269,837 km?)

 — Width 280 miles (451 km)

 — Length 380 miles (612 km)

 — % water 0.36%

 — Latitude 37°N to 41°N

 — Longitude 102°03’W to 109°03’W

Population  Ranked 22nd in the US

 — Total 4,861,515 (2007 est.)[1]

 — Density 41.5/sq mi  (16.01/km?)

Ranked 37th in the US

 — Median income  $51,022 (10th)

Elevation  

 — Highest point Mount Elbert[2][3] 14,440 ft  (4401 m)

 — Mean 6,800 ft  (2073 m)

 — Lowest point Arikaree River[2]

3,315 ft  (1010 m)

Admission to Union  1876-08-01 (38th)

Governor Bill Ritter (D)

Lieutenant Governor Barbara O’Brien (D)

U.S. Senators 2 — Wayne Allard (R)

The State of Colorado (pronounced /k?l??raedo?/ or, chiefly by
nonresidents, /k?l??r??do?/ (help·info))[4] is a state located in the
Rocky Mountain region of the United States of America. Colorado may also
be considered to be a part of the Western and Southwestern regions of
the United States. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the
state population was 4,861,515 in 2007, a 13.03% increase since the U.S.
Census 2000.[5] Denver is the capital as well as the most populous city
of Colorado. Citizens of Colorado are known as Coloradans.

Geography

The State of Colorado is defined as the geoellipsoidal rectangle that
stretches from 37°N to 41°N latitude and from 102°03’W to 109°03’W
longitude (25°W to 32°W from the Washington Meridian).[6] Colorado,
Wyoming, and Utah are the only three U.S. states that have only lines of
latitude and longitude for boundaries and that have no natural borders.
When government surveyors established the border markers for the
Territory of Colorado, minor surveying errors created several small
kinks along the borders, most notably along the border with the
Territory of Utah. The surveyors’ benchmarks, once agreed upon by the
interested parties, became the legal boundaries for the Colorado
Territory.[7]

The summit of Mount Elbert at 14,440 feet (4,401 m) elevation in Lake
County is the state’s highest point and the highest point in the entire
Rocky Mountains.[2][3] Colorado has more than 50 mountain peaks that
exceed 4,000 meters (13,123 ft) elevation. Colorado is the only U.S.
state that lies entirely above 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) elevation. The
point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Colorado, and
into Cheyenne County, Kansas, is the lowest point in the State of
Colorado at 3,315 feet (1,010 m) elevation. This crossing point holds
the distinction of being the highest low point of any U.S. state.[8][2]

Nearly half of the state is flat in stark contrast to Colorado’s rugged
Rocky Mountains. East of the Southern Rocky Mountains are the Colorado
Eastern Plains of the High Plains, the section of the Great Plains
within Colorado at elevations ranging from 3315 to 6562 feet (1010 to
2000 m). The states of Kansas and Nebraska border Colorado to the east.
The plains are sparsely settled with most population along the South
Platte and the Arkansas rivers. Precipitation is meager, averaging from
12 to 18 inches (300 to 450 mm) annually. There is some irrigated
farming, but much of the land is used for dryland farming or ranching.
Winter wheat is a typical crop and most small towns in the region boast
both a water tower and a grain elevator.

The bulk of Colorado’s population lives along the eastern edge of the
Rocky Mountains in the Front Range Urban Corridor. This region is
partially protected from prevailing storms by the high mountains to the
west.

The Continental Divide dips down to 11,990 feet (3,655 m) at Loveland
Pass.

To the west lies the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains with notable
peaks such as Longs Peak, Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, and the Spanish Peaks
near Walsenburg in the south. This area drains to the east, is forested,
and partially urbanized. During the drought of 2002 devastating forest
fires swept this area.

The Continental Divide stretches across the crest of the Rocky
Mountains. To the west of the Continental Divide is the Western Slope.
Water west of the Continental Divide drains west into the Sea of Cortez
via the Colorado River.

Within the interior of the Rocky Mountains are several large parks or
high broad basins. In the north, on the east side of the Continental
Divide is North Park. North Park is drained by the North Platte River,
which flows north into Wyoming. Just south but on the west side of the
Continental Divide is Middle Park, drained by the Colorado River. South
Park is the headwaters of the South Platte River. To the south lies the
San Luis Valley, the headwaters of the Rio Grande, which drains into New
Mexico. Across the Sangre de Cristo Range to the east of the San Luis
Valley lies the Wet Mountain Valley. These basins, particularly the San
Luis Valley, lie along the Rio Grande Rift, a major geological
formation, and its branches.

The Rocky Mountains within Colorado contain 53 peaks that are
14,000 feet (4,267 m) or higher elevation, known as fourteeners. The
mountains are timbered with conifers and aspen to the tree line, at an
elevation of about 12,140 feet (3,700 m) in southern Colorado to about
10,500 feet (3,200 m) in northern Colorado; above this only alpine
vegetation grows. The Colorado Rockies are snow-covered only in the
winter; most snow melts by mid-August with the exception of a few small
glaciers. The Colorado Mineral Belt, stretching from the San Juan
Mountains in the southwest to Boulder and Central City on the front
range, contains most of the historic gold- and silver-mining districts
of Colorado.

The Western Slope is generally drained by the Colorado River and its
tributaries. Notable to the south are the San Juan Mountains, an
extremely rugged mountain range, and to the west of the San Juans, the
Colorado Plateau, a high desert bordering Southern Utah. Grand Junction
is the largest city on the Western Slope. Grand Junction is served by
Interstate Highway I-70. To the southeast of Grand Junction is Grand
Mesa, the world’s largest flat-topped mountain. Further east are the ski
resorts of Aspen, Vail, Crested Butte, and Steamboat Springs. The
northwestern corner of Colorado bordering Northern Utah and Western
Wyoming is mostly sparsely populated rangeland.

From west to east, the state consists of desert-like basins, turning
into plateaus, then alpine mountains, and then the grasslands of the
Great Plains. The famous Pikes Peak is just west of Colorado Springs.
Its lone peak is visible from near the Kansas border on clear
days.[citation needed]

Colorado is also one of only four states in the United States to share a
common border (Four Corners), along with Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
At this intersection, it is possible to stand in four states at once.

Climate

The climate of Colorado is quite complex compared to most of the United
States. The typical south-north/cooler-warmer variation in other states
is not generally applicable in Colorado. Mountains and surrounding
valleys greatly affect local climate. As a general rule, with an
increase in elevation come a decrease in temperature and an increase in
precipitation. A main climatic division in Colorado occurs between the
Rocky Mountains on the west and the plains on the east; the foothills
form a transitional zone between the two.

Eastern Plains

The climate of the Eastern Plains is a semi-arid continental climate
(Koppen climate classification BSk) of low humidity and moderately low
precipitation, usually from 10 to 15 inches (250 to 380 mm) annually.
The area is known for its abundant sunshine and cool clear nights, which
give this area the highest average diurnal temperature range in the
United States. In summer, this area can have many days above 95 °F (35
°C) and sometimes 100 °F (38 °C), although 105 °F (41 °C) is the maximum
in the front range cities above 5000 ft (1500 m). In those areas, ?25 °F
(?31.7 °C) is the all-time record low. About 75% of the precipitation
falls within the growing season, from April to September, but this area
is very prone to droughts. Most of the precipitation comes in the form
of thunderstorms, which are often severe, and the form of major
snowstorms that happen most often in the early spring and in late
autumn, and sometimes winter, from low pressures that bring the right
conditions. Otherwise, winters tend to be drier and cold, even though
it’s known for having a number of mild days in many winters. In much of
this region, March and April are the snowiest months. April and May are
normally the rainiest months, while April is the wettest month that has
the most combination of rain and snow. The Front Range cities closer to
the mountains tend to be warmer in the winter due to chinook winds which
warm the area, sometimes bringing temperatures up to 60 °F (16 °C) or
higher in the winter.[9] The average July temperature is 57 degrees in
the morning and 87 degrees in the afternoon. The average January
temperature is 15 degrees in the morning and 43 degrees in the
afternoon, although the daily high may be 60 one day and 0 the next.

West of the plains and foothills

West of the plains and foothills, the weather of Colorado is much less
uniform. Even places a few miles (kilometers) apart can experience
entirely different weather, depending on the topography of the area.
Most valleys also have a semi-arid climate, which becomes an alpine
climate at higher elevations. Generally, the wettest season is in the
winter in Western Colorado while June is the driest month, which is the
opposite of precipitation patterns in the east. The mountains have cool
summers with many days of high temperatures around 60 °F (16 °C) and
70 °F (21 °C), although frequent thunderstorms can cause a sudden drop
in temperatures. Summer nights are cool, and cold at the highest
altitudes which can sometimes bring snow even in the middle of the
summer. The winters bring abundant, powdery snowfall to the mountains
which the skiers love, although even in the winter, there can be many
days with abundant sunshine in between major storms. The Western Slope
has high summer temperatures similar to those found on the plains while
the winters tend to be slightly cooler due to the lack of any warming
winds which are common in the plains and Front Range. Other areas in the
west have their own unique climate. The San Luis Valley is generally dry
with little rain or snow, although the snow that falls tends to stay on
the ground all winter.

Extreme weather

Extreme weather is a common occurrence in Colorado. Thunderstorms are
common east of the Continental divide in the spring and summer, and
Colorado is one of the leading states in deaths due to lightning. Hail
is a common sight in the mountains east of the divide and in the
northwest part of the state. While not as common as some of the states
to the east, much of the Eastern Plains are prone to tornadoes, and
there have been some damaging tornadoes there. An example is the 1990
Limon F3 tornado and the 2008 Windsor F3 tornado which devastated the
city. Floods are also a factor in the plains, not just from the
thunderstorms, but also due to heavy snow in the mountains followed by a
warm, dry period which swells rivers with melted snow. In 2008, from
July through August, a new record was set that was previously held in
1901 of twenty-three straight days of 90 degree heat, surpassing the
previous record by almost a week. Colorado is also known for its
droughts that occur every few years, causing major wildfires such as the
Hayman Fire, one of the largest wildfires in US history.

Records

The highest temperature ever recorded in Colorado was 118 °F (48 °C) on
July 11, 1888, at Bennett, while the lowest was -61 °F (-52 °C) on
February 1, 1985, at Maybell.[10][11]

History

The region that is today the State of Colorado has been inhabited by
Native Americans for more than 13 millennia. The Lindenmeier Site in
Larimer County contains artifacts dating from approximately 11200 BCE to
3000 BCE. The Ancient Pueblo Peoples lived in the valleys and mesas of
the Colorado Plateau. The Ute Nation inhabited the mountain valleys of
the Southern Rocky Mountains and the Western Rocky Mountains. The
Arapaho Nation and the Cheyenne Nation moved west to hunt across the
High Plains.

The United States acquired a territorial claim to the eastern flank of
the Rocky Mountains with the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. The
U.S. claim conflicted with Spain’s claim that a huge region surrounding
its colony of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mejico was its sovereign trading zone.
Zebulon Pike led a U.S. Army reconnaissance expedition into the disputed
region in 1806. Pike and his men were arrested by Spanish cavalry in the
San Luis Valley the following February, taken to Chihuahua, and expelled
from Mexico the following July.

The United States relinquished its claim to all land south and west of
the Arkansas River as part of the U.S. purchase of Florida from Spain
with the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819. Mexico finally won its independence
from Spain in 1821, but it surrendered its northern territories to the
United States after the Mexican-American War with the Treaty of
Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. In 1849, the Mormons of Deseret (now Utah)
organized the extralegal Provisional State of Deseret which claimed all
land drained by the Green River and the Colorado River. The federal
government refused to recognize the new government, and the Mormons
declined to settle east of the Green River for more than 20 years. The
United States divided the area of the future Colorado among the
Territory of New Mexico and the Territory of Utah organized in 1850, and
the Territory of Kansas and the Territory of Nebraska organized in 1854.

Most American settlers traveling west to Oregon, Deseret, or California
avoided the rugged Rocky Mountains and instead followed the North Platte
River and Sweetwater River through what is now Wyoming. On 1851-04-09,
Hispanic settlers from Taos, New Mexico, settled the village of San
Luis, then in the New Mexico Territory, but now Colorado’s first
permanent European settlement. Gold was discovered along the South
Platte River in western Kansas Territory in July 1858, precipitating the
Pike’s Peak Gold Rush.[13] The placer gold deposits along the rivers and
streams of the region rapidly played out, but miners soon discovered far
more valuable seams of hard rock gold, silver, and other minerals in the
nearby mountains.

The Provisional Government of the Territory of Jefferson was organized
on 1859-10-24, but the new territory failed to secure federal sanction.
The election of Abraham Lincoln for U.S. President on 1860-11-06, led to
the secession of six slave states and the threat of civil war. Seeking
to augment the political power of the free states, the Republican led
U.S. Congress hurriedly admitted the eastern portion of the Territory of
Kansas to the Union as the free State of Kansas on 1861-01-29, leaving
the western portion of the territory, and its gold fields, unorganized.

Thirty days later on 1861-02-28, outgoing U.S. President James Buchanan
signed an act of Congress organizing the free Territory of Colorado.[14]
The original boundaries of Colorado remain unchanged today. The name
Colorado was chosen because it was commonly believed that the Colorado
River originated in the territory.[15] Early Spanish explorers named the
river the Rio Colorado for the reddish-brown silt the river carried from
the mountains.[16] In fact, the Colorado River did not flow through the
State of Colorado until House Joint Resolution 460 of the 66th United
States Congress changed the name of the Grand River to the Colorado
River on 1921-07-25.[17]

The United States Congress passed an enabling act on 1875-03-03,
specifying the requirements for the Territory of Colorado to become a
state.[6] On 1876-08-01 (28 days after the Centennial of the United
States), U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting
the State of Colorado to the Union as the 38th state and earning it the
moniker «Centennial State».[18] The discovery of a major silver lode
near Leadville in 1878, triggered the Colorado Silver Boom. The Sherman
Silver Purchase Act of 1890 envigorated silver mining, but the repeal of
the act in 1893 led to a major collapse of the mining and agricultural
economy of the state.

Colorado women were granted the right to vote beginning on 1893-11-07,
making Colorado the first U.S. state to grant universal suffrage by
popular vote. By the 1930 U.S. Census, the population of Colorado
exceeded one million residents. The state suffered through the Great
Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, but a major wave of
immigration following World War II boosted Colorado’s fortune. Tourism
became a mainstay of the state economy, and high technology became an
important economic engine. Colorado’s population exceeded 4.3 million at
U.S. Census 2000.

Three warships of the United States Navy have been named USS Colorado.
The first USS Colorado was named for the Colorado River. The later two
ships were named in honor of the landlocked state.

Demographics

The state’s most populous city, and capital, is Denver. The
Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area, home to 2,927,911
people, contains more than two-thirds of the state’s population.
Residents of Colorado are properly referred to as Coloradans, although
the term Coloradoans is still used.[19][20]

As of 2005, Colorado has an estimated population of 4,665,177, which is
an increase of 63,356, or 1.4%, from the prior year and an increase of
363,162, or 8.4%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase
since the last census of 205,321 people (that is 353,091 births minus
147,770 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 159,957 people
into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a
net increase of 112,217 people, and migration within the country
produced a net increase of 47,740 people.

The largest increases are expected in the Front Range Urban Corridor,
especially in the Denver metropolitan area. The state’s fastest growing
counties are Douglas and Park. Both counties had been suburbanized or
grew by 5 times in population in the 1990s and early 2000s. Large
numbers of new residents in the state originate from California, which
led some locals to feel that their state was «Californicated» in the
1990s (esp. Denver resembled more of Los Angeles) when real estate home
prices, lower cost of living and a healthier economy in growth rates
drew in over 100,000 Californians at the time, and there are others
moved in from East Coast states. The center of population of Colorado is
located just north of the town of Critchell in Jefferson County.[21]

Colorado has one of the highest proportions of Hispanic citizens of any
U.S. state; only five states have a higher percentage. Denver and some
other areas have significant Mexican populations, while southern
Colorado has a large number of Hispanos, the descendants of early New
Mexican settlers of colonial Spanish origin. The 2000 U.S. Census
reports that 10.52% of people aged 5 and over in Colorado speak Spanish
at home.[22] Colorado, like New Mexico, is very rich in archaic Spanish
idioms.[23]

Colorado has a history of African-Americans communities which are
located in northeast Denver in the Montbello, Green Valley Ranch, Park
Hill and Colfax Park areas. The state has sizable numbers of
Asian-Americans of Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Southeast Asian and
Japanese descent. The Denver metropolitan area is considered more
liberal and diverse than much of the state when it comes to political
issues and environmental concerns, as the Denver area rapidly grows in
size, sprawl and population in the last 40 years.

According to the 2000 Census, the largest ancestry groups in Colorado
are German (22%) including of Swiss and Austrian nationalities, Irish
(12.2%), and English (12%). Persons reporting German ancestry are the
largest group in the state and are especially strong in the Front Range,
the Rockies (west-central counties) and Eastern parts/High Plains.[24]
Denver and nearby areas on the Front Range has sizable Scandinavian,
Italian, Slavic and Jewish American communities, partly a legacy of gold
rushes in the late 19th century (1861-1889).

There were a total of 70,330 births in Colorado in 2006. (Birth Rate of
14.6). Although Non-Hispanic Whites constituted 73.5% of the population
they accounted for only 48.90% of all the births. The first time in
state history with the statistic of non-Hispanic whites have less
babies. But 14.06% of the births happened to parents of different races
(About two-thirds to White-Latino parents).[25] Westernmost counties
where the majority of residents are adherents of Mormonism there’s a
slightly higher percentage of families with children and those of under
age 18.

Colorado has a higher number of younger persons in median age: 33,
according to the 2000 Census report. Large numbers of married couples in
professional careers with young children move to the state in a belief
it’s a better place to raise a family. Colorado is also a major
retirement destination by senior citizens in search of a warmer climate,
recreation activities and the higher altitude in most of Colorado is
said to provide health benefits for those with respiratory diseases.

Religion

Colorado’s population is predominately Christian, although it has a high
percentage of religiously unaffiliated residents like most other Western
states. Colorado, and specifically the City of Colorado Springs, serves
as the headquarters of numerous Christian groups, many of them
Evangelical. Focus on the Family is a major conservative Christian
organization headquartered in Colorado Springs. Catholicism is popular
in Colorado, and is becoming more so with the influx of Latino
immigrants.

Major religious affiliations of the people of Colorado are:[26]

Christian – 65%

Protestant – 44%

Evangelical – 23%

Mainline – 19%

Other Protestant – 2%

Roman Catholic – 19%

Latter Day Saint – 2%

Jewish – 2%

Muslim – 1%

Other Religions – 1%

Unaffiliated – 31%

The largest denominations by number of adherents in 2000 were the Roman
Catholic Church with 752,505; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints with 92,326; and the Southern Baptist Convention with 85,083.
[27]

Health

Colorado also has a reputation for being a state of very active and
athletic people. According to several studies, Coloradoans have the
lowest rates of obesity of any state in the US.[28] As of 2007 the 17.6%
of the population was considered medically obese, and while the lowest
in the nation, the percentage had increased from 16.9% from 2004.
Colorado Governor Bill Ritter spoke that “As an avid fisherman and bike
rider, I know first-hand that Colorado provides a great environment for
active, healthy lifestyles,” although he did highlight the need for
continued education and support to slow the growth of obesity in the
state.[29]

Economy

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that the total state product
in 2006 was $230 billion. Per capita personal income in 2003 was
$34,561, putting Colorado eighth in the nation. To see a 2004 per capita
personal income comparison table on a state basis.[30] The state’s
economy broadened from its mid-19th century roots in mining when
irrigated agriculture developed, and by the late 19th century, raising
livestock had become important. Early industry was based on the
extraction and processing of minerals and agricultural products. Current
agricultural products are cattle, wheat, dairy products, corn, and hay.

The federal government is also a major economic force in the state with
many important federal facilities including NORAD, United States Air
Force Academy and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs; NOAA and
the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder; U.S.
Geological Survey and other government agencies at the Denver Federal
Center in Lakewood; the Denver Mint, Buckley Air Force Base, and 10th
Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver; and a federal Supermax Prison and
other federal prisons near Canon City. In addition to these and other
federal agencies, Colorado has abundant National Forest land and four
National Parks that contribute to federal ownership of 24,615,788 acres
(99,617 km2) of land in Colorado, or 37% of the total area of the
state.[31] In the second half of the 20th century, the industrial and
service sectors have expanded greatly. The state’s economy is
diversified and is notable for its concentration of scientific research
and high-technology industries. Other industries include food
processing, transportation equipment, machinery, chemical products,
minerals such as gold and molybdenum, and tourism. Colorado also
produces the largest amount of beer of any state.[32] Denver is an
important financial center.

Colorado has a flat 4.63% income tax, regardless of income level. Unlike
most states, which calculate taxes based on federal adjusted gross
income, Colorado taxes are based on taxable income — income after
federal exemptions and federal itemized (or standard)
deductions.[33][34] Colorado’s state sales tax is 2.9% on retail sales.
When state revenues exceed state constitutional limits, full-year
Colorado residents can claim a sales tax refund on their individual
state income tax return. Many counties and cities charge their own rates
in addition to the base state rate. There are also certain county and
special district taxes that may apply.

Real estate and personal business property are taxable in Colorado. The
state’s senior property tax exemption was temporarily suspended by the
Colorado Legislature in 2003. The tax break is scheduled to return for
assessment year 2006, payable in 2007.

Energy

Colorado has significant energy resources. According to the Energy
Information Administration, Colorado hosts seven of the Nation’s 100
largest natural gas fields and two of its 100 largest oil fields.
Conventional and unconventional natural gas output from several Colorado
basins typically accounts for more than 5 percent of annual U.S. natural
gas production. Substantial deposits of bituminous, subbituminous, and
lignite coal are also found in the State. Colorado’s high Rocky Mountain
ridges offer wind power potential, and geologic activity in the mountain
areas provides potential for geothermal power development. Major rivers
flowing from the Rocky Mountains offer hydroelectric power resources.
Corn grown in the flat eastern part of the State offers potential
resources for ethanol production. Notably, Colorado’s oil shale deposits
hold an estimated 1 trillion barrels (160 km3) of oil – nearly as much
oil as the entire world’s proven oil reserves. Oil production from those
deposits, however, remains speculative.[35]

Special tax districts

Some of the special tax districts are:

The Regional Transportation District (RTD), which affects the counties
of Denver, Boulder, Jefferson, and portions of Adams, Arapahoe,
Broomfield, and Douglas Counties

The Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a special
regional tax district with physical boundaries contiguous with county
boundaries of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and
Jefferson Counties

It is a 0.1% retail sales and use tax (one penny on every $10).

According to the Colorado statute, the SCFD distributes the money to
local organizations on an annual basis. These organizations must provide
for the enlightenment and entertainment of the public through the
production, presentation, exhibition, advancement or preservation of
art, music, theater, dance, zoology, botany, natural history or cultural
history.

As directed by statute, SCFD recipient organizations are currently
divided into three «tiers» among which receipts are allocated by
percentage.

Tier I includes regional organizations: the Denver Art Museum, the
Denver Botanic Gardens, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, the
Denver Zoo, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. It receives
65.5%.

Tier II currently includes 26 regional organizations. Tier II receives
21%.

Tier III has over 280 local organizations such as small theaters,
orchestras, art centers, and natural history, cultural history, and
community groups. Tier III organizations apply for funding to the county
cultural councils via a grant process. This tier receives 13.5%.

An eleven-member board of directors oversees the distributions in
accordance with the Colorado Revised Statutes. Seven board members are
appointed by county commissioners (in Denver, the Denver City Council)
and four members are appointed by the Governor of Colorado.

The Football Stadium District (FD or FTBL), approved by the voters to
pay for and help build the Denver Broncos’ stadium INVESCO Field at Mile
High

Local Improvement Districts (LID) within designated areas of southeast
Jefferson and Boulder counties

Regional Transportation Districts (RTA) taxes at varying rates in
Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, Gunnison County

Occupational Privilege Taxes (OPT or Head Tax) Denver and Aurora both
levy an OPT on Employers and Employees

If any employee performs work in the city limits and is paid over
US$500.00 for that work in a single month, the Employee and Employer are
both liable for the OPT regardless of where the main business office is
located or headquartered.

In Denver, the Employer is liable for US$4.00 per employee per month and
the Employee is liable for US$5.75 per month.

In Aurora, both Employer and Employees are liable for US$2.00 per month.

It is the Employer’s responsibility to with hold, remit, and file the
OPT returns. If an Employer does not comply, they can be held liable for
both portions of the OPT as well as penalties and interest.

Government and Politics

State government

Like all U.S. states, Colorado’s constitution provides for three
branches of government: the legislative, executive, and judicial
branches. The governor heads the state’s executive branch. The Colorado
Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the state. The state
legislative body is the Colorado General Assembly, which is made up of
two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has
65 members and the Senate has 35. Currently, Democrats are in control of
both chambers of the General Assembly. The 2005 Colorado General
Assembly was the first to be controlled by the Democrats in forty years.
The incumbent Governor of the State of Colorado is August William «Bill»
Ritter, Jr. (D).

Many Coloradans are transplanted citizens (over half of them were
Californians in the 1990s), and this is illustrated by the fact that the
state has not had a native-born governor since 1975 (when John David
Vanderhoof left office) and — until Bill Ritter’s election in November
2006 — had not elected one since 1958, in the person of Stephen L.R.
McNichols. Vanderhoof ascended from the Lieutenant Governorship when
John Arthur Love was given a position in Richard Nixon’s administration
in 1973.) Bill Ritter (D), a humanitarian missionary worker in Africa
and former Denver District Attorney, defeated former congressman and
banker Bob Beauprez (R) in the 2006 gubernatorial election.

Federal politics

Colorado is considered a swing state in both state and federal
elections. Coloradans elected 17 Democrats and 12 Republicans to the
governorship in the last 100 years. In presidential politics, Colorado
supported Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992, and supported Republican
presidential nominee Robert J. Dole in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000,
and 2004.

Colorado politics has the contrast of conservative cities such as
Colorado Springs and liberal cities such as Boulder. Democrats are
strongest in metropolitan Denver, the college towns of Fort Collins and
Boulder, southern Colorado (including Pueblo), and a few western ski
resort counties. The Republicans are strongest in the Eastern Plains,
Colorado Springs, Greeley, some Denver suburbs, and the western half of
State (including Grand Junction). The fastest growing parts of the state
particularly Douglas, Elbert, and Weld Counties, in the Denver-Aurora
Metropolitan Area, are somewhat Republican.

The two current U.S. Senators from Colorado are Wayne Allard (R), and
Ken Salazar (D). The state has seven U.S. Congressional districts, based
on the 2000 Census.

Cities and Towns

Colorado has 271 incorporated municipalities and 83 active United States
Census Designated Places.[37][38]

The skyline of downtown Denver with Speer Boulevard in the foreground

Education

Colleges and universities in Colorado:

Adams State College

Aims Community College

Arapahoe Community College

Art Institute of Colorado

Colorado Christian University

Colorado College

Colorado Community College Online

Colorado Mountain College

Colorado Northwestern Community College

Colorado School of Mines

Colorado State University System

Colorado State University

Colorado State University-Pueblo

Colorado Technical University

Community College of Aurora

Community College of Denver

Denver Seminary

DeVry University

Fort Lewis College

Front Range Community College

Heritage College & Heritage Institute

Iliff School of Theology

Johnson & Wales University

Jones International University

Lamar Community College

Mesa State College

Metropolitan State College of Denver

Morgan Community College

Naropa University

National Technological University

Nazarene Bible College

Northeastern Junior College

Otero Junior College

Pikes Peak Community College

Pueblo Community College

Red Rocks Community College

Regis University

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Trinidad State Junior College

United States Air Force Academy

University of Colorado System

University of Colorado at Boulder

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs

University of Colorado Denver

University of Denver

University of Northern Colorado

Western State College

Sports

Professional sports teams

Colorado is the least populous state with a franchise in each of the
major professional sports leagues. The state is able to support the
teams because it contains a large metropolitan area with a higher
population than any other city within 550 miles (885 km). Therefore,
many of the residents in the surrounding states support the teams in
Denver, as shown by the reach of the Broncos’ radio network.[46]

References

^ http://www.census.gov/popest/states/NST-ann-est.html 2007 Population
Estimates

^ a b c d «Elevations and Distances in the United States». U.S.
Geological Survey (2005-04-29). Retrieved on 2007-10-19.

^ a b «National Geodetic Survey data sheet KL0637 for Mount Elbert».
National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved on 2007-10-19.

^ Colorado — Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

^ «Table 1: Annual Estimates of the Population for the United States and
States, and for Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007» (CSV). 2007
Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division
(2007-12-27). Retrieved on 2007-12-27.

^ a b Forty-third United States Congress (1875-03-03). «An Act to Enable
the People of Colorado to Form a Constitution and State Government, and
for the Admission of the Said State into the Union on an Equal Footing
with the Original States» (PDF). Retrieved on 2008-04-14.

^ Rectangular States and Kinky Borders

^ U.S. Geological Survey. «Elevations and Distances». Retrieved on
2006-09-08.

^ [1] Western Regional Climate Center. Last accessed 2006-10-24.

^ «Record Highest Temperatures by State» (PDF). National Climatic Data
Center (2004-01-01). Retrieved on 2007-01-11.

^ «Record Lowest Temperatures by State» (PDF). National Climatic Data
Center (2004-01-01). Retrieved on 2007-01-11.

^ http://www.ustravelweather.com/weather-colorado/

^ Gehling, Richard (2006). «The Pike’s Peak Gold Rush» (HTML). Richard
Gehling. Retrieved on 2007-06-12.

^ «An Act to provide a temporary Government for the Territory of
Colorado» (PDF). Thirty-sixth United States Congress (1861-02-28).
Retrieved on 2007-06-12.

^ Early explorers identified the Gunnison River in Colorado as the
headwaters of the Colorado River. The Grand River in Colorado was later
identified as the headwaters of the river. Finally in 1916, E.C. LaRue,
Chief Hydrologist of the United States Geological Survey, identified the
Green River in Wyoming as the proper headwaters of the Colorado River.

^ State of Colorado — Division of Information Technologies. «State Names
and Nicknames». Retrieved on 2006-11-15.

^ Colorado River Water Conservation District (2003). «Many years ago,
the Colorado River was just Grand» (HTML). Summit Daily News. Retrieved
on 2007-06-12.

^ President of the United States of America (1876-08-01). «Proclamation
of the Admission of Colorado to the Union» (php). The American
Presidency Project. Retrieved on 2008-04-14.

^ Merriam Webster. «Definition of Colorado». Retrieved on 2006-09-26.

^ «Writer’s Style Guide» (HTML). Colorado State University,
Communications & Creative Services (2007-08-01). Retrieved on
2008-05-07.

^ «Population and Population Centers by State — 2000». United States
Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2008-12-04.

^ Language Map Data Center

^ Elcastellano.org talking about Colorado in «nada»

^ Map of Latitude: 39.500656 Longitude: -105.203628, by MapQuest

^ CDPHE: COHID Birth Data Request

^ U.S. Religion Map and Religious Populations — U.S. Religious Landscape
Study — Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life

^ http://www.thearda.com/mapsReports/reports/state/08_2000.asp

^
http://calorielab.com/news/wp-images/post-images/fattest-states-2007-big
.gif

^ http://calorielab.com/news/2007/08/06/fattest-states-2007/

^ http://www.bea.gov/bea/newsrel/spi_highlights.pdf

^ Tony Frank (January 1997). «Colorado Land Ownership by County (acres)»
(Excel). Colorado Department of Agriculture. Retrieved on 2007-07-15.
Colorado Department of Agriculture: Land Ownership

^ Colorado rides on Fat Tire to beer heights. Rocky Mountain News
11/24/2007 Accessed 29th November, 2007

^ Colorado individual income tax return (2005)
http://www.revenue.state.co.us/PDF/05104f.pdf, retrieved September 26,
2006

^ U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (2005) online copy, retrieved
2006-09-26

^ «EIA State Energy Profiles: Colorado» (2008-06-12). Retrieved on
2008-06-24.

^ Denver International Airport was the ninth busiest airport on Earth in
2006.

^ «Active Colorado Municipalities as of September 18, 2006» (HTML).
State of Colorado, Department of Local Affairs (2006-09-18). Retrieved
on 2007-01-08.

^ «Census 2000 Places» (text file). Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files.
U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division (2000). Retrieved on 2007-01-08.

^ «Colorado Counties» (HTML). State of Colorado, Department of Local
Affairs (2007-01-08). Retrieved on 2007-01-30.

^ «Annual County Population Estimates and Estimated Components of
Change: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007» (CSV). 2007 Population Estimates.
United States Census Bureau, Population Division (2008-03-20). Retrieved
on 2008-09-25.

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