Under the Dome: Budget committee back at work | CraigDailyPress.com

Under the Dome: Budget committee back at work

Bob Rankin/For Craig Press

State Rep. Bob Rankin

Be very afraid. The Joint Budget Committee of the Colorado Legislature, of which I'm a member, is back at work. We have the governor's recommendations, and we plan to spend $30.5 billion, $11.5 billion of which is the general fund, which comes from your income and sales tax. The rest is from federal funds and various fees you pay. The governor's plan calls for increasing reserves and putting more money into both K-12 and higher education.

The biggest budget controversies are shaping up: a need for more spending on transportation and changes to the state's retirement system. I'll continue to advocate for rural economic development, broadband and health care. Who says spreadsheets aren't exciting?

I'm enthusiastically supporting the Education Leadership Council I co-chair with the commissioner of education. I'm working with our local Aspen Community Foundation to form a subcommittee to represent private and nonprofit organizations that contribute so much to the larger system of education. During the next year, and overlapping the election of a new governor, the council will put together inputs from stakeholders and set a vision and long term strategy to make Colorado a world leader in education, from early childhood to career.

Joyce and I receive many opportunities to participate in panel discussions about budget and education, however one of the most enjoyable for us was Adventures in Aging, hosted and moderated by our very own Glenwood Post editor Randy Essex. Thanks to all the attendees, including many friends, for your questions and comments.

Thanks to the Colorado Tourism Office for selecting me for the Chairman's Award at the Governor's Tourism Convention this year. I've been on the board for 5 years, and I'm honored to be a part of this office that does so much for all of Colorado, including our rural counties.

Big news in my corner of the district: We have a bridge. Joyce and I were actually two-and-a-half hours in traffic and missed the ribbon cutting, but were were in the first few cars across the bridge last Monday. Congratulations to everyone who helped plan, advocate and endure.

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As we head into the next legislative session, I want to know your concerns and issues with state government. I may not always agree with you or vote for some of the new laws, but I promise to listen and help you find resources to help you be an effective advocate.

Rep. Bob Rankin represents Colorado's House District 57, which includes Moffat, Garfield and Rio Blanco counties. He writes the monthly column “Under the Dome,” hoping to inform and engage constituents in his district. Contact him at bob.rankin.house@state.co.us.

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