Dems stall budget talks; Block funds for education, needy seniors

Mar. 28, 2012


DENVER—This evening, Democrats on the Joint Budget tried to force the reversal of a unanimous, bipartisan decision to cut 2 percent spending from government departments, instead of increasing funding to the state’s Education Fund, higher education and Colorado’s neediest seniors.

“I’m deeply disappointed that Democrats would put growing the government ahead of putting money in the State Education Fund, higher education and helping Colorado’s neediest seniors,” said Joint Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Cheri Gerou, R-Evergreen.  “It’s irresponsible for Democrats on the Joint Budget Committee to withhold funding for the state’s neediest seniors and students.”


The unanimous vote by JBC for the 2 percent vacancy savings was to fund an increase in health, life and dental insurance for state employees.  On Wednesday, House and Senate Republicans on the JBC tried to meet Democrats in the middle by reinstating  1 percent to the state vacancy savings and funding half of the increase for health, life, dental insurance costs for state employees.


“We tried, in good faith, to meet Democrats in the middle, so we could come up with a compromise, but Democrats wouldn’t budge,” said Sen. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, a JBC member.


Joint Budget Committee member, Rep. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan, added:


“I sincerely hope Democrats will join us in protecting the state’s neediest senior citizens and invest in our students.  We have the perfect opportunity to do so this year.  It’s time for Democrat leadership in the House and Senate to let their members on the JBC to negotiate without having to check-in.”