2nd reading in the House on Wednesday, March 28th
Unlike the politicians in D.C., state legislators in Colorado must pass a balanced budget every year, within the 120 day legislative session. In fact, this is the only true requirement of the General Assembly; no other bill carries the weight of the Long Appropriations Bill, aptly called the “Long Bill”, and few bills can attract 100 amendment as the Long Bill does.
Because of new revenue that the state is expecting to collect in the upcoming year due to changes in tax law at the federal level, the Colorado Taxpayers Advocate Fund scrutinized this year’s budgeting process. Not surprisingly, this year’s Long Bill rounds out at nearly $30.0 billion, with almost $11.0 billion of that funding being directly attributable to taxpayers’ mandatory contributions to the state. With so much new revenue likely to be available, it would be responsible for the state to return to voters what truly belongs to voters.
While this isn’t likely to happen, Taxpayers can be hopeful that some of their concerns are being heard. Senator Kent Lambert, a Republican from El Paso County, was able to set $500.0 million aside to address the state’s struggling roads and bridges. The Republican caucus made transportation funding a priority all year, so it was no surprise that this request was one of the first made. The Democrat caucus has historically prided itself in funding education generously, and set $150.0 million aside. Both parties seemed to agree that the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) needs serious reforms, but it’s yet to be seen if they can compromises on that front.
What priorities would you like your state to fund in the upcoming year? Join the conversation here or on our Facebook page.
You can learn more about the Long Bill on the General Assembly’s website. The Colorado House of Representatives are set to begin debate on the Long Bill on Wednesday, March 28th.
Colorado Taxpayers Advocate Fund, Inc. exists to educate citizens and Colorado public officials on issues of public policy so they can, if they choose, make a difference in their community on issues affecting their city, state, and even their country at large.