After nine hours of debate last night over the state budget, the takeaway was easy – Democrats’ amendments to the budget passed, Republicans’ amendments did not. The lack of bipartisan spirit was bad enough, but here’s the punch to the gut: Democrats refused to give up any of their pet projects in order to fund education, yet just a few months ago, they asked Colorado families to cough up another one billion dollars in tax revenue via Amendment 66 to fund teachers unions.
Republicans, lead by Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso, battled for greater education funding by offering many amendments dedicated to filling the negative factor in public education. The “negative factor” (surely the word of the night) is the band-aid that the state implemented during the recession due to untenable funding mandates resulting from Amendment 23, which requires an increase in education funding each year.
Instead of seizing the opportunity to help school districts across the state, Democrats gave every excuse in the book. The most prevalent (and obnoxious) being that Joint Budget Committee Chair Crisanta Duran wasn’t made aware of the requests in the process she had outlined. Of course, Duran’s process had nothing to do with the process required by the legislature, prompting some to say she required legislators to kiss her ring.
Either way, it’s pathetic when Democrats put special interests and process over the education and well-being of children. Some of the line items in the budget that were funded instead of children’s education included the following:
- $7 million more (above the already funded $46 million) for the Vocational Rehab Program, a program so rife with “pervasive problems” that a November 2013 performance audit found issues with 98 percent of the program’s cases reviewed
- $5 million more for film subsidies through the Governor’s Office of Film
- $6.8 million for the Waste Tire Program, which tracks tires from the time they’re removed from a car or truck until they are appropriately disposed of
While the budget bill passed second reading last night, the budget must be passed on third reading, scheduled for today. Stay tuned PeakNation™ for more news on the budget.