Lauded Long Bill a Long Time Coming

(May 26) – Gov. John Hickenlooper this morning signed the 2017-2018 state budget, helping to make official the bipartisan spending package that averts many of the cuts feared at the beginning of the 71st General Assembly. The other major component of the package, SB 267, which avoids major cuts to the state’s hospital system, and gives a boost to education and transportation funding, is expected to be signed early next week.

“This was one of the hardest budgets I’ve worked on, but strong bipartisan cooperation has thankfully gotten us to a place where we averted devastating cuts to our schools, hospitals and transportation,” said Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, vice-chair of the JBC. “I hope we can carry on that bipartisan partnership into next session and work to focus on our K-12 classrooms, which deserve so much more.”

“I am so proud to have worked with legislators from each chamber and caucus to create a budget that, while not perfect, honors our commitment to serve all Coloradans,” said Rep. Dave Young, D-Greeley and a member of the JBC. “I’m especially pleased we were able to protect our most vulnerable populations, including those with developmental disabilities, that we were able to provide dollars for affordable housing and substance abuse, that we were able to increase the number of oil and gas inspectors in the state, and that we were able to protect our schools from the massive cuts we were anticipating at the beginning of the year.”

“This was a really difficult year for our state’s budget and I applaud the leadership of Rep. Millie Hamner and Dave Young and the entire Joint Budget Committee for leading us to a budget we can be proud of,” said Speaker Duran, D-Denver. “I also give my sincere thanks to Majority Leader Becker, Senators Guzman and Sonnenberg and Rep. Jon Becker for their hard work to fix the hospital provider fee and save our state’s hospitals from disastrous cuts. I’m proud the House Democrats were able to lead the way to include several important priorities including boosting funding for critical transportation projects, providing housing assistance, especially for those experiencing homelessness, and avoiding cuts to our schools.”

Some of the major accomplishments of SB17-254 include:

  • Gives a $242-per- student funding boost to schools in a year where school funding was expected to take a significant hit
  • Provides more funding for affordable housing and to tackle homelessness
  • Puts $9.5 million toward expanding access to broadband in rural areas of the state
  • Saves important programs like the Healthy Kids Survey, which provides critical information about Colorado children’s health and wellbeing
  • Boosts funding for substance abuse treatment across the state
  • Increases funding for the ASCENT program, which helps students get a head start on their college education through concurrent enrollment, so high school students can enroll in community college classes to earn college credit while completing their high school degree
  • Adds inspectors in the Colorado Oil Gas Conservation Commission, which oversees oil and gas drilling to help ensure our communities are safe and to defend against pollution
  • Increases funding for the Tony Grampsas Youth Services Program, which supports programs to help prevent child abuse and neglect, and to reduce youth crime and violence



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