The annual Colorado budget is making its way through the statehouse. It cleared the Senate on a vote of 21 to 14 passing largely along party lines, with three Democrats joining Republicans to support it. Bente Birkeland asked John Frank with the Denver Post and Ivan Moreno with the Associated Press to talk about the dynamics at play.
The joint budget committee- evenly split between Republicans and Democrats crafted the budget. The Senate made three modest changes to the bill. Two bi-partisan amendments were adopted, along with a Democratic amendment to add money for rural economic development grants.
Are you surprised at the partisan breakdown in the Senate vote given such a bi-partisan proposal?
Ivan Moreno- Associated Press: “Not really because usually what happens every year is the party that’s in the minority tries to amend the budget introducing dozens of amendments, and most of them don’t pass. What ends up happening is they feel they were shut out of the process, which is what Democrats said repeatedly on the Senate floor.”
John Frank- Denver Post: “I was a little surprised to see so much partisanship, just based on history. In 2012, the last time we had a bi-partisan JBC form the budget, it cleared both chambers with the most support it has ever had. Only six people total out of 100 lawmakers were opposed to it, so this fell short of that mark already.”
The measure next heads to the Democratic controlled House. After the House makes changes, the budget bill will head to a conference committee to iron out any differences. Then it heads back to each chamber for a final vote. That will give lawmakers one last chance to switch their votes if they decide to do so. Several Senate Democrats signaled that they would be open to supporting the budget bill in the end.