State’s irresponsible spending exposed
State legislators have already overspent the 2020 budget by more than $100 million. You read that correctly — $100 million.
If you’re like me, you’re wondering how this is possible and why the legislature didn’t see it coming. The answer is that they did see it coming. In fact, the Legislature and Gov. Polis purposely low-balled estimates of new programs like full-day kindergarten so that it would fit into the budget without cutting other programs, while knowing that the actual cost would come in higher.
It was recently reported in the Colorado Sun that “to make their bills more attractive, lawmakers kept spending in the first year low and often pushed the cost into future years.”
One blatant example of this was bringing down the enrollment estimate for full-day kindergarten from more than 90% to 85%, knowing that they weren’t allocating enough money for even year one of this new ongoing program. Unsurprisingly, enrollment is closer to 99%, and the legislature has made a promise that they don’t have the funding to keep.
A Democrat and one of the authors of last year’s budget, Rachel Zenzinger, was recently quoted saying, “I was concerned last year. And the fact that estimates (for required spending) are coming in so much higher, just increases my concern.” If she truly felt this concern then it was irresponsible for her to author and push through such a budget for her majority party to approve.
Members of the Legislature and the governor used their new ruling majority to push through an irresponsible agenda of one-time and ongoing spending increases. They kicked the can down the road, and now they’re asking voters to approve the Prop CC tax increase to help cover the costs. I hope that Prop CC fails, but either way you can bet on them coming back to voters with additional tax increases next year. Coloradans should not approve another penny for the Legislature until they can prove that they can responsibly manage the $32.5 billion budget they already have.