(April 13) – The Joint Budget Committee met this afternoon to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of HB16-1405, the state budget known as the Long Bill. The committee acted on amendments in both chambers that changed the budget in minor ways and had to be settled in the conference committee.
“This process has been a great example of collegial and respectful cooperation between the House and Senate Republicans and Democrats,” said Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, Chairwoman of the JBC. “Thanks to the hard work of the JBC with input from all of our colleagues since November, we have created a smart budget that avoids painful cuts that were originally anticipated.”
“It was great that we were able to come to such a positive conclusion given that the governor’s proposal included $373 million in budget cuts,” said Rep. Dave Young, D-Greeley, who also sits on the JBC. “This balancing act took a little bit of luck, and a lot of creativity and hard work.”
The Joint Budget Committee has worked for months to pass a constitutionally required balanced budget. With very little breathing room, the committee passed a budget that managed to:
- Increase per-pupil average spending for K-12 schools by $112 to $7,425
- Avert a possible $20 million cut to higher education
- Set transfers to the state’s highway fund at $150 million
- Maintain the statutory 6.5 percent budget reserve
- Avert cuts to payment rates for medical providers
Today, the committee adopted a Senate amendment for suicide prevention funding and agreed to cut funding to the Air Pollution Control Division by only $111,652, preserving the division’s ability to protect clean air in Colorado.
The agreed upon budget now proceeds back to the Senate and is expected to return to the House by Friday. From there, it will head to the governor’s desk.