Capitol Coverage: Lawmakers Discuss Final Steps in Passing Budget

Colorado’s $28.6 billion budget is nearing the end of its legislative journey.

Each year, the six-member, bipartisan Joint Budget Committee crafts a balanced budget before sending it to the House and Senate for amendments. The JBC then has to reconcile those changes.

Image: Republican Rep. Bob Rankin of Carbondale and Democratic Son. Dominick Moreno of Commerc City both serve on the budget committee. Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

But in most cases, they go back to the original budget they spend months writing.

This year, the the House and Senate have added about 30 amendments to the so-called “long bill”.

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Sen. Moreno and Rep. Rankin talk about the upcoming budget negotiations to finalize the bill.

Statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland spoke with two budget committee members:, third-year Republican member Rep. Bob Rankin of Carbondale and first-year Democratic member Sen. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City.

They talked about the process before them and why it’s not as pointless as it seems.

Interview Highlights

On how difficult will it be to reconcile those two versions, and keep the budget balanced:

Moreno:  I don’t think it’s going to be that difficult to balance because at the end of the day the conference committee is the Joint Budget Committee. It’s the members who originally constructed this budget and have the most knowledge and understanding of the inter workings of the state budget.

On  the biggest sticking points for the conference committee:  

Rankin: What we’ll be looking for is to both represent our constituents but also represent our caucuses as we go through each of one these things. There will be some sticking points. My caucus ran a lot of amendments to try to divert money to transportation. I’ll be trying to represent that. I think for me that will be the biggest so-called sticking points.

On why they think the process is important when the budget bill will look much like the original version:

Rankin: I really do enjoy it because some of these ideas people come up with are off the wall, and some of them are actually pretty good ideas that we did not think about.

Moreno: I think it’s important, ultimately, to consider what our colleagues have to say about our budget priorities.

Capitol Coverage is a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Fifteen public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.

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