(Nov. 7) – Rep. Crisanta Duran took over as chairwoman of the legislature’s powerful Joint Budget Committee today as Gov. John Hickenlooper appeared before the panel to discuss his 2014-15 budget proposal.
“Last year we worked in a bipartisan way to really come up with a strong budget for the state of Colorado, while also being fiscally prudent,” Rep. Duran said after the outgoing committee chairman, Sen. Pat Steadman, handed her the gavel. “I look forward to working with both sides of the aisle to do that again this year.”
The leadership of the budget-writing JBC alternates each year between the House and Senate majority caucuses. In her second term representing House District 5 in central Denver and her second year on the JBC, Rep. Duran is the panel’s senior House Democrat.
Gov. Hickenlooper told the JBC that Colorado’s budget process is a national model for bipartisan cooperation. The budget has received broad, bipartisan support in each of his first three years in office.
“The shutdown in Washington made all too clear that collaboration and compromise in government are not givens, and that all too often common sense is in short supply,” he told the JBC. “It certainly makes me more proud and more grateful for the collaborative and cooperative spirit that we have here in Colorado, especially around the budget.”
Gov. Hickenlooper touted his budget proposal’s increase in the general fund reserve to 6.5 percent and the additional $223 in per-pupil funding for K-12 education across the state, but noted that constitutional benchmarks established by Amendment 23 call for an additional spending increase of $1,200 per pupil.
He also noted that Colorado is in its fourth year of uninterrupted economic expansion and has risen from 40th to fourth among the states in job creation.