State budget talks delayed

Apr 26, 2017

Credit Tracy Olson/Flickr

Wednesday is the deadline to pass the state’s budget for the next fiscal year. Lawmakers have not yet met to finalize the plan. This delay could put the legislature in a tight spot in the final days of session.

Passing a balanced budget is the only thing the Colorado Constitution requires state lawmakers to do. And with the deadline looming, there isn’t a lot of time for them to finalize the proposal and reconcile differences in the versions passed by both chambers. The House has delayed two budget-related bills that need to pass before it can be finalized. One of those measures would lead to a half billion dollars in cuts for hospitals.

“As I’ve said before, do we really want to have a budget that cuts hospitals by $264 million, times two, with the federal cut that would also come with that?” Democratic Rep. Millie Hamner of Dillon, and the Vice-Chair of the budget committee, said. She said extending the deadline is necessary to reach a deal to avoid those cuts. But Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham urges the House to move the budget forward first.

“We have one task in 120 days, which is balancing the freakin’ budget,” Granthan said. “Let’s do it.”

Grantham said if the budget doesn’t pass this week it means the legislature might not have time this session to override any line item budget vetoes from the Governor.