Under the Dome column: Joint Budget Committee is back at work
Under the Dome
Be very afraid. The Joint Budget Committee of the Colorado Legislature, of which I’m a member, is back at work. We have the governor’s recommendations, and we plan to spend $30.5 billion, of which $11.5 billion is the general fund that comes from your income and sales tax. The rest is from federal funds and various fees that you pay. The governor’s plan calls for increasing reserves and putting more money into both K-12 and higher education.
The biggest budget controversies are shaping up: a need for more spending on transportation and changes to the state’s retirement system. I’ll continue to advocate for rural economic development, broadband and health care. Who says spreadsheets aren’t exciting?
I’m enthusiastically supporting the Education Leadership Council that I co-chair with the commissioner of education. I’m working with our local Aspen Community Foundation to form a subcommittee to represent private and nonprofit organizations that contribute so much to the larger system of education. Over the next year, and overlapping the election of a new governor, the council will put together inputs from stakeholders and set a vision and long-term strategy to make Colorado a world leader in education from early childhood to career.
Joyce and I get a lot of opportunities to participate in panel discussions about budget and education. However one of the most enjoyable for us was Adventures in Aging hosted and moderated by our very own Glenwood Springs Post Independent editor Randy Essex. Thanks to all the attendees, including many friends, for your questions and comments.
Thanks to the Colorado Tourism Office for selecting me for the Chairman’s Award at the Governor’s Tourism Convention this year. I’ve been on the board for five years, and I’m honored to be a part of this office that does so much for all of Colorado including our rural counties.
Big news in my corner of the district. We have a bridge! Joyce and I were actually two and a half hours in traffic, missed the ribbon cutting, but were in the first few cars across the bridge last Monday. Congratulations to everyone who helped plan, advocate and endure.
As we head into the next legislative session, I want to know your concerns and issues with state government. I may not always agree with you or vote for some of the new laws, but I promise to listen and help you find resources to help you be an effective advocate.
“Under the Dome” appears on the second Tuesday of the month. State Rep. Bob Rankin, a Carbondale Republican, is in his third term in the state Legislature representing House District 57, which includes Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties.
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The family of Rosie Ferrin has worked to clean up and make safe again the old schoolhouse in downtown New Castle. Ferrin died this summer and had owned the building that included classrooms turned into apartments for years.