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Republicans gain power in Colorado budget battle

Posted by Kelly Maher on November 12th, 2010
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Arguably the most powerful committee at the Colorado state legislature is the Joint Budget Committee (JBC). The JBC sets the budget for the state, with the fiscal year 2011-12 proposal coming in at $19.1 billion. We met up with state Sen. Kent Lambert, R-Colo. Springs, after its meeting Wednesday.

“The real news is what happened on November 2. We got the House of Representatives back in Republican hands, so - unlike this last session, this last general assembly - we now have a split government and it’s going to severely restrict power of the Democrats to keep pushing through things like tax increases and things like that.”

Since 2004 (when Republicans lost control of both the state House and the Senate) the JBC has had a 4-2 partisan advantage for Democrats. Now the JBC has an even 3-3 split and will have to find bipartisan support to pass anything. The six member JBC committee is comprised of:

“. . . the Chairman and one majority and one minority member of the House Appropriations Committee, and the Chairman and one majority and one minority member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.”

In their first meeting on Wednesday the JBC members peppered Gov. Ritter with specific questions regarding his proposal, reported the Colorado News Agency. Ritter then urged the committee to put aside their “posturing” to pass a budget.

Democrats will now be forced to come to the table with substantive cuts rather than relying on one-time federal stimulus money, and the “elimination of tax exemptions” (read: tax increases) to solve the budget crisis.

The “dirty dozen” bills that passed Democratic-controlled chambers last session were used to balance the budget. It’s unlikely we’ll see anything like that again now that Republicans have regained a majority in the House.

I asked Sen. Lambert if we will see any more maneuvering of that style in the upcoming legislative session. He seems to think that it is not only unlikely, but that some of the bills passed last session could be repealed.


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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kelly Maher
    Kelly, a co-founder of WhoSaidYouSaid, brings more than 10 years of campaign and policy work experience. In addition to her skills in grassroots activism and organization, Kelly has a knack for distilling complex issues into accessible messages that resonate with voters. Her policy specialties include health care, education, employment and tort reform. Follow Kelly on Twitter at @okmaher.

One Response to “Republicans gain power in Colorado budget battle”

  1. Gerry says:

    Well, Kent, I’ll believe it when I see it.
    From my perspective, if they simply don’t pass anything that does more damage to the economy or raises any taxes, they’ll be a success.

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