April 23, 2012

(Denver) – The House gave initial approval today to a Republican bill that would reinstate the notorious Arveschoug-Bird Limit, a 6 percent cap on increases in the state general fund.

Before it was repealed in 2009, the limit prevented the state budget from recovering when the state economy also recovers.

HB12-1075, sponsored by Reps. Don Beezley (R-Broomfield) and Brian DelGrosso (R-Loveland) would cap general fund increases at 6 percent over the general fund appropriation for the previous year. Excess revenues would be divided among transportation and capital development funds and a rainy-day reserve, but would not go to the general fund, which provides most of the other services of state government, including K-12 education, which took a $1 billion hit to balance the state budget during the recent recession.

The nonpartisan Legislative Council reckons the bill would cut the general fund by $163 million in fiscal year 2013-14.

“This bill permanently cuts K-12 by $1 billion,” House Democratic leader Mark Ferrandino told the chamber. “We would never be able to fill the hole that we’ve dug over the last couple of years during the Great Recession. I don’t think we should put in place an arbitrary spending limit that doesn’t allow us to make sure we can restore the cuts to our kids’ future.”

The Republican majority brushed aside amendments by Rep. Ferrandino (D-Denver) to exempt education from the 6 percent limit or, alternatively, to put all the extra money in the rainy-day reserve.

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