Lawmakers debate state budget

Mar 29, 2017

Lawmakers have reached the point in their annual 120-day session where they take up the budget. It grew by roughly 4 percent compared to last year - but it still doesn’t keep up with state expenses. 

The joint budget committee crafts the budget, which is known as the long bill. It funds all of state spending. Democratic Rep. Millie Hamner of Dillon is the vice-chair of the committee. She said this year was especially difficult because the committee bumped up against the spending limit allowed under the Tax Payer’s Bill or Rights (TABOR). It restricts spending to inflation, plus population growth. And then ….

“We started looking at the critical needs that were emerging into this budget, the amount of money far exceeded the revenue we had available, so that was our biggest problem from the beginning,” Hamner said.

The state constitution requires lawmakers to pass a balanced budget. To make things work, they are proposing to cut money for hospitals, and reduce funding for transportation projects around. They’re hopeful separate bills could restore that money.