When the players take to the pitch for the second half of this year’s General Assembly on May 26, consider it more of a seventh round for state taxpayer dollars.
Who knows if it’s a good idea to bring 100 heads of state, Governor Jared Polis and a series of reporters back to State House. The state constitution requires the legislature to pass a budget so that the governor can sign it before the start of the new fiscal year on July 1.
The other thing the law requires is that the budget be balanced and that lawmakers make deep cuts. The pain train enters the station.
They must also pass a school funding law, when the state already does not invest enough money in K-12 education to meet the letter of the law.
Even in difficult times like these, the power of the legislature is limited in what it can do for or against teachers, classrooms and students. Insights once told you that the real decision-making in education happens at the local level, not the state level.
Lawmakers receive ears from the unions, alliances and activists parading on Capitol Hill every year. This year their walking shoes can stay at home.
Last year, lawmakers passed a budget of over $ 32 billion. Most of these expenses, however, are beyond their control. This year, they may have to cut as much as $ 3 billion from the $ 12.4 billion over which they have influence.
In other words, the state has $ 4 in its pocket, but then it has to buy me a $ 1 banana, if the coronavirus was a banana.
It’s a big banana.
While Colorado officials Ken Buck of Windsor and Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs were in the driver’s seat, the federal government would not send help to state and local governments because they think the federal government is overspending. Both Republicans back Trump’s border wall, the one Mexico was supposed to pay, to $ 20 million per mile.
State lawmakers are expected to table nearly all bills that have not passed before the March 14 adjournment, a week after halfway through the 120-day session. Insights called it when we told you to fork in this session; it is done.
The biggest fight of the session is already over. The public option was supposed to get the government into the insurance business through price caps for doctors and hospitals. Sponsors pulled the bill May 4.
Paid family leave, another big fight expected this spring, was lost due to the pandemic, but he was previously on life support. The epidemic has just ended it.
The ticket for a seat under the Golden Dome in Denver this year is a clear plan and little promise. Democrats should retain their majority, if only because people are solely focused on getting out of this mess.
Good rains make good farmers, and plentiful tax revenues do the same for lawmakers. Let’s see what Democrats can do.
There is not enough fat in the state budget. They will also have to cut muscles – wildfire mitigation, all-day kindergarten, safety nets for the needy, the financially faltering state fair, and any other program that is not essential to staying afloat.
Expect make-or-die arguments to save what we previously spent on some pet projects, as I have never met a lawmaker describing something they support as government pork.
On May 8, for example, the Joint Budget Committee retained $ 300,000 for the Colorado Proud marketing campaign to promote agriculture at home and abroad, in part because of damage to farmers and ranchers. by President Trump’s tariffs.
We can always be grateful to be Coloradans.
Balancing the state budget is constitutionally required, even if it sparks a global debate on investment in education and transport.
Nonetheless, in the good economic times that existed a few months ago, Polis was doing the grace of an overwhelming state budget to fuel his agenda on better education, clean energy and affordable health care.
You have that luxury with one of the strongest economies in the country.
While the former rulers of Colorado – looking at you, John Hickenlooper – failed to put money into a “rainy day” fund during boom times, Polis spoke of strengthening the state’s economies, “reserves” as they are called.
The federal government spends, spends, spends like it’s a hole politicians can’t help but dig. Polis saw this as a member of Congress.
Colorado requires lawmakers to live within their budget. This prevents critical long-term investments without the hard-to-get taxpayer approval, and it would be nice to take a line of credit right now to get us out of it.
It’s harder to get back on your feet when you’re burdened with old debt. I have enough parents with bad credit to tell you that being in debt is a bad idea. Colorado doesn’t do that.
When this is over, whether it’s months or years, Colorado will rebound the fastest, just as it did in the last recession. Part of it is our mentality of suffering as we go. We did not have to take out our services to make the loan repayments.
Of course, there is pain and sacrifice reflected in the budget cuts that lawmakers face, but there is also a framework and track record to be trusted.