Under the Dome: All is quiet right now
It’s pretty quiet under the dome right now. The legislative session is in adjournment, no committee meetings, no school class visits, lobbyists all gone home.
The completed budget would have been voted on by now, and we don’t even have an updated forecast. This unexpected session will get even stranger when we reconvene and have to set priorities on bills and spending. I ran into Chris, one of the maintenance staff who is continually polishing the brass stair rails in the capitol building as we were out for a walk, and he was coming out of the building. He says the brass is shining and there are no hand prints, but we both agreed that we miss the crowds and the noise.
This budget will be challenging to construct and historically impactful to education, state services, and local government. The budget bill will have to be the highest priority along with the school finance act, which funds K12. The legislature’s executive committee met and decided to target May 19 as the date to reconvene the General Assembly, so, as of this writing, we are scheduling to that date.
The JBC aims to finalize the budget bill, School Finance Act, and any other budget-related bills by the end of May to allow state departments, local governments, school districts, and others, the time necessary to finalize their budgets by the end of the state’s 2019-20 fiscal year on June 30, 2020. Our staff is working with us to develop options leading up to the formal budget process.
Timeline milestones for the JBC through May are:
- Begin formally meeting to review revenue scenarios, and begin consideration of balancing options and necessary statutory changes on Monday, May 4. JBC meeting materials, logistics, and the ability to listen will be available to legislators and the public.
- Receive updated, much-anticipated, and perhaps dreaded, revenue forecasts on Tuesday, May 12.
- Make final budget-balancing decisions before Long Bill introduction.
- Introduce Long Bill and other budget-related bills in the House the week of May 18 and in the Senate the following week.
Whether and how much other legislation to consider is yet to be determined.
I’ve agreed to participate in the governor’s economic recovery team on the telecom/broadband subcommittee, and I’m working with the Education Leadership Council that I co-chair. Lots of Zoom conferences.
On a personal note, Joyce and I are working in our Denver apartment most of the time so that I can be close to the JBC staff (and we can walk to the grocery store).
Everyone stay safe and get ready to bounce back, and check out my updated web site at votebobrankin.com.
Senator Bob Rankin writes the monthly column “Under the Dome” hoping to inform and engage the constituents in his district and the Western Slope. He serves on the Joint Budget Committee and represents Garfield, Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt, Grand, Jackson and Summit Counties. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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