Colorado is a large energy producing state. Compared to other energy producing states, Colorado's current severance tax policies and rates are very lenient towards energy companies. There have been proposals to change these rates and policies but these proposals have been highly contested. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate Colorado's current policies and determine whether new rates and restructuring of the taxes would benefit the state of Colorado and its citizens. This paper uses past data and tax collections to create hypothetical situations for the future of Colorado's severance taxes. By studying the years of 1981-2008 a long range of effects of the potential policy change are examined. Using extraction models, rate changes are determined to have a small effect on the extraction paths and prices for crude oil. Calculations done to determine the effect of an endowment on Colorado's tax payout find a much more stable, but not necessarily larger payout.
Hunting licenses do not represent the true value of the sport for hunters. This study examines the monetary value hunters, resident and non-resident, place on elk hunting in Colorado and which factors affect their valuation. The contingent valuation method is used to determine this information through a survey that was posted on several internet hunting forums. A hypothetical fee increase in hunting licenses from an improvement in elk habitat is used in the survey. To elicit a response, this study uses a two part question for willingness to pay, which is different from previous studies. First, intervals are presented and then the respondent answers an open-ended question. The data obtained from the survey is analyzed using the Tobit regression method. Separate regression equations are used for resident and non-resident hunters. The study finds that Colorado resident and non-resident hunters have differing views on the amount of license fee increase they would accept and base their decision on different factors.