Budget measures support Coloradans’ priorities and protect important programs
DENVER— February 11: Today, the Senate passed a series of bills to balance the current fiscal year budget for the state of Colorado. Since the most recent revenue forecasts, the Joint Budget Committee has worked to prepare the bills, known as “negative supplementals,” in order to adjust the state budget to account for diminished state revenue. Currently, the state is facing a budget shortfall of $342 million, according to the December revenue forecast done by the Office of State Planning and Budgeting.
Senate President Brandon Shaffer (D-Boulder) commented on the Senate’s work today:
“One of the legislature’s highest Constitutional obligations is to keep the state’s budget in balance. Balancing the budget requires us to make tough decisions. The Senate Democrats kept their promise to the people of Colorado to balance the budget in a way that reflects the priorities of Colorado families and businesses.”
Closing the budget shortfall requires legislators to prioritize the programs and services the state provides for the people of Colorado.
Senator Betty Boyd brought an amendment to restore funding for a program that helps keep parolees out of prison and on a path back to being productive members of society. This program increases public safety, saves the taxpayers money, and it is a wise investment in Colorado’s future.
Senator Evie Hudak (D-Westminster) brought an amendment to restore funding for school counselors in Colorado schools. This funding helps school children navigate the important transition out of high school into college or the workforce. These counselors do an important job and perform a service that the state cannot afford to do without.
Sen. Hudak told a story about a student at Arvada High School, in her district, who would never have gone on to college without the help of his school counselor. She said, “Effective counseling programs have a significant impact on student achievement. School counselors help students consider their options and make the most of their opportunities.” Sen. Hudak explained that this program supports over 82,000 students and 50 school districts state-wide.
The Senate passed an amendment to restore funding that had been cut from early childhood councils. These councils help coordinate and deliver services for Colorado’s youngest children and their families.
Senator Linda Newell (D-Littleton) defended the amendment, saying:
“We are the fastest growing state in child poverty. This is not the time to be cutting early childhood dollars.” The Early Childhood Leadership Commission is working to find more efficiencies in programs and ways to streamline service delivery. Restoring this funding is an important investment in these kids’ futures.”
The Senate voted for efficient, effective government for the state of Colorado, and put the priorities of Colorado first. Balancing the budget is always difficult. The package of bills made reductions in programs, refinanced state funds, and reappropriated cash funds.