Marianne Goodland

Budget heading back to JBC

The Colorado Statesman

The House finished its work on the 2015-16 budget Thursday, returning it to the Joint Budget Committee to work out differences with the Senate version.

But last-minute drama could have sent the budget back $20 million out of balance.

The annual budget bill passed on a 45-20 vote Thursday morning. Eleven Republicans voted for the 2015-16 budget along with the House’s 34 Democrats.

The day before, the House went on a bit of spending spree, approving a dozen amendments to the $26.4 billion budget.

Long bill hits House

The Colorado Statesman

Battle lines are being drawn in the House over the annual budget bill, with some of the same disagreements over priorities as was seen in the Senate last week.

The House Appropriations Committee this morning reviewed the Long Appropriations Bill, Senate Bill 15-234, and its accompanying 18 budget-balancing bills. All were approved and sent to the full House for debate.

Long Bill makes way out of Senate

The Colorado Statesman

Ten hours, almost 90 amendments, and in the end, a balanced budget left the state Senate Thursday on its way to the House.

The Senate, Thursday morning, voted 21-14 to approve the state’s $26.4 billion 2015-16 budget. The approval came after a marathon session that lasted until almost 11 p.m. the previous night. But the budget did not leave the Senate chamber without rancor from Democrats who claimed their priorities were ignored.

The budget changed little during Wednesday’s debate, despite dozens of efforts by both caucuses.

Law enforcement package on the move

The Colorado Statesman

The General Assembly this week took action on six bills that are part of the law enforcement “Rebuilding Trust” package. All but one passed, but it became clear Tuesday that law enforcement agencies are not on board with the whole package.

Severance tax is biggest fight so far in 2015-16 budget

The Colorado Statesman

The state Senate Monday issued its first votes on the 2015-16 state budget. The Senate Appropriations Committee voted to pass the budget bill, Senate Bill 15-234; and a package of related budget bills.

The biggest budget fight may come from one of those related bills. SB 255 takes $20 million from the state’s severance tax fund and transfers it to the general fund. The bill passed on a 4-3 vote with bi-partisan opposition.

Wage Battle Begins

Minimum wage hike not expected to pass this session
The Colorado Statesman

Democrats this week began what is likely to be a multi-year effort to persuade fellow lawmakers and the public to support a hike in the minimum wage.

Monday, supporters held a rally on the west steps of the state Capitol, with a crowd numbering well over 250, to show support for two measures scheduled for hearing later that day.

House Concurrent Resolution 15-1001 seeks to raise Colorado’s current minimum wage of $8.23 per hour to $9.50 per hour, starting Jan. 1, 2017. The minimum wage would increase annually until it reaches $12.50 per hour on Jan. 1, 2020.

Tears, cheers as mascot bill passes committee

The Colorado Statesman

Some who wept in sorrow, later cheered in joy.

An attempt to persuade Colorado schools from using American Indian images as mascots got through a tumultuous hearing Monday, sparked by tears from some who recounted the abuses suffered by American Indians, and the two-hour absence of a lawmaker who walked out after a presentation by the sponsors didn’t go as planned.

Joint Budget Committee debuting state budget Friday

The Colorado Statesman

The 2015-16 state budget, under a divided General Assembly and equally divided Joint Budget Committee, is scheduled to debut on Friday

With a divided legislature, it was certain that no one would get everything they wanted. “This was a difficult balancing act, but we did it with bipartisan support,” according to Rep. Dave Young, D-Greeley. “We have a balanced budget that lives within our means and within our budgetary constraints.”

Federal water bill bites the dust, again

The Colorado Statesman

A bill that has enjoyed broad bipartisan support in the House for the past two years got a very different response recently, and Republicans are crying foul.

Senate Bill 15-064 is the third in a three-year effort to tell the federal government that they do not have the right to demand water rights from ski resorts in exchange for renewing their leases for federal lands.

TABOR refund likely to go to voters

The Colorado Statesman

Budget writers this week finished their work on the annual state budget and turned their attention to what to do about a $58 million projected TABOR refund.

Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, took the lead on coming up with a proposal for the Joint Budget Committee on Wednesday.

The $58 million refund was triggered by tax revenue received by the state through excise and sales taxes on marijuana, and which pushed the state over its allowable TABOR revenue cap.