The press has made a big deal of the number of party line votes during the 2013 legislative session. One of those party line votes has particular resonance today — whether or not to allocate funds for firefighting air tankers.
In the Senate Appropriations Committee, all the Democrats voted against funding the air tankers and all the Republicans voted in favor of the funds. See the vote here.
Governor Hickenlooper’s budget, which you can read here, didn’t propose a cent for firefighting tankers. It did, however, propose over $85 million for raises for state bureaucrats:
After four fiscal years without a raise, it is time for State employees to receive a modest cost of living adjustment of 1.5 percent and to reward top performers from a pool of funds equivalent to 1.5 percent of payroll. In total, these items require $57.8 million TF and $27.4 million GF.
The Governor didn’t propose a penny for tankers and he signed a bill, SB245, that didn’t contain a cent for tankers.
When Coloradans ask where the air tankers are, they should ask the Governor and legislative Democrats why they thought it wasn’t a priority.