DENVER—On Friday, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock) and Assistant House Minority Leader Cole Wist (R-Centennial) sent a Colorado Open Records Act (CORA) request to Governor Hickenlooper and his budget director Henry Sobanet asking for budget documents the Governor’s office is statutorily required to produce.
The CORA request is specifically asking for the state’s budget request as mandated by Senate Bill 17-267, which was signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper on May 30th. The new law required each department, excluding the Departments of Education and Transportation, to produce a budget request that reflects a two percent reduction from the prior year appropriation.
However, while the Governor’s office acknowledged completing the work, it has maintained that it is not legally compelled to share the information with the Colorado Legislature.
“The Governor signed Senate Bill 17-267 into law knowing full well that the intent of those budget requests were to help the legislature prioritize spending,” said Neville. “Frankly, it’s silly and sad that Governor Hickenlooper is forcing us to issue a CORA request for information that his office is legally required to produce.”
Representative Jon Becker (R-Fort Morgan), the Bill’s House prime sponsor added:
“We included this two percent reduction provision in Senate Bill 17-267 to encourage state departments to look for ways to prioritize their budget and help the legislature maximize tax dollars. I want to know why the Governor signed this bill into law if he is unwilling to comply with one of its key components.”
While the provision required state departments to propose a budget reflecting a two percent reduction, it does not preclude departments from submitting additional budgets to the Governor’s office.
Prior to the CORA request, all House Republicans signed a letter to the governor on December 11th requesting that the budget information be disclosed to the General Assembly by January 2nd. The CORA request was dated January 5th.