December 2014
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News for Norther Colorado and the world

Friday, December 19, 2014

Lundberg Report: Legislators Battle Over Budget

By Kevin Lundberg
District 15 State Senator

Raiding Pinnacol Assurance Funds
The Senate gave second reading passage to two bills on Thursday that takes control of, and then raids $500 million from Pinnacol Assurance, the workman’s compensation company. The socialists of the world should be proud.

The Joint Budget Committee set this up by cutting $300 million from higher education, claiming there was no other way to balance the budget and then insisted that taking the $500 million from Pinnacol was the only other option. On the Republican side, we found several ways to spread the cuts across all departments and also came up with tens of millions of targeted program cuts, but the Democrat majority persisted in ramming through the Pinnacol scheme.

The Long Bill
The main budget bill, the Long Bill, also passed second reading. As I mentioned in the above discussion concerning Pinnacol, we put up several other ways to trim the budget, but almost all were rejected. The only Republican idea that survived was an amendment that I initially proposed, defunding the metal detector screening at the capitol building (saving $840,000).

The budget, for all of the talk of cuts, is still $200 million more than last year. The final vote in the Senate should be held on Monday. I will give my final comments to the Senate before that vote.

Party Lines Suspend Senior Property Tax Exemption
SB 276 will suspend the Senior Property Tax Exemption. We were able to amend it to only have effect for one year, but for that one year it still goes to zero. Sen. Renfroe and I ran an amendment to find other funding in the place of eliminating the senior property tax exemption. Our amendment failed, essentially party line. SB 276 passed second reading on, you guessed it, essentially party lines.

Other bills that passed juggled the numbers by taking $245,000,000 from various cash funds and cutting the statutory reserve in half. Absent were any bills that meaningfully cut or reduced any programs. 

For more information check out the Freedom Watch page on my Web site:

Town Hall Meeting in Loveland
On Saturday, April 18, Rep. B.J. Nikkel and I will hold town hall meetings in the Loveland City Council Chambers at 10 a.m., and at the Estes Park Library at noon. Republican House Whip, Rep. Cory Gardner is scheduled to join us at both meetings. If you can, please join us.

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