Senate Gives Initial Approval to Bipartisan 2012-2013 Budget
DENVER─ Today, the Senate gave initial approval to a bipartisan and balanced state budget that protects schools, restores the senior property tax exemption, and provides for the state’s most vulnerable populations.
Colorado law requires that the budget be balanced every year, and legislators must work together to meet this requirement. This year, the state’s improving economy has resulted in state revenues projected to be nearly $200 million higher than previously estimated. A majority of this funding will be allocated to restoring the homestead tax exemption for seniors and to fund public schools.
Vice Chair of the Joint Budget Committee, Senator Mary Hodge (D-Brighton), offered the following comment on the state budget today:
“The state’s economy has improved, but we still had some tough choices to make. We fought hard to protect things important to Coloradans, including school funding, services for seniors, and people with disabilities, and we were able to secure funding for economic development to continue creating new jobs. This is a solid, bipartisan budget that will benefit people all over the state.”
Joint Budget Committee member, Senator Pat Steadman (D-Denver), offered the following comment on the state budget today:
“I’m very proud of the budget we crafted this session, and I think the end result is balanced, responsible and reflective of Colorado values. This year showed marked economic improvement, and we were able to protect many of our core services, help our seniors, support services for people with disabilities, and most importantly we were actually able to increase K-12 funding.”
The Senate was able to successfully amend the budget to fund job creation for Colorado communities, and continue reenergizing the state’s economy. Senator Evie Hudak (D-Westminster) sponsored an amendment to increase funding for the Office of Economic Development and International Trade and to support Small Business Development Centers across the state. Small Business Development Centers provide support for more than 1 million entrepreneurs every year, and in 2009 helped local businesses generate more than $3.1 billion in new revenue.
Another Amendment, sponsored by Senator Linda Newell (D-Littleton), will help provide desperately needed services for Colorado’s Veterans. This Amendment secured funding for programs that provide mental health counseling, family health counseling, job training, employment, and housing for veterans.
The budget will be heard again in the Senate before being sent to the House of Representatives for consideration of Senate amendments.