The Colorado House is currently debating the state’s budget, more fondly referred to as the “Long Bill” because of its length, and Democrat leaders are already spending this year’s surplus like a bunch of drunken monkeys.
Here are the top four things to watch for as the Long Bill works its way through the House and Senate:
- Health programs related to Obamacare are expected to receive an 18 percent increase in funding, or $1.2 billion more than they had last year.
- Contentious debate over the fate of the Colorado Benefits Management System (CBMS). Currently, the Long Bill includes $40.2 million to cover the cost associated with bringing CBMS into compliance with Obamacare. The non-partisan JBC staff has said this is unnecessary spending. Expect Republicans to try and spend that money on K-12 education and infrastructure instead, and expect Democrats to fall on their swords defending it.
- Colorado has been trying really hard to establish itself as a destination for movie and television production, but so far we’ve only been able to attract D-list projects at best. However, that won’t stop Democrats from fighting to continue funding incentives for truly bizarre film projects. Republicans will, again, try to divert that money to K-12 education and infrastructure projects.
- Let’s also not forget the $300 million of additional spending bills sitting in the Appropriations Committees that have not been acted on yet. Once the budget is passed, there will only be around $20 million “left over” for those pet causes. This is going to cause major Democrat infighting in the weeks to come.