44 Days left until May 6 – 533 bills introduced – 302 House – 231 Senate – 224 Bipartisan – 120 bills postponed indefinitely – 57 signed by the Governor
March Economic Forecast – as expected, the state’s revenue continued to grow which is helpful for the 2015 – 2016 budget. However, due to TABOR revenue limits, too much revenue could result in taxpayer refunds. Without any further action by the legislature or the voters, the projected budget surplus over the next three years would have to be refunded to taxpayers. The budget is expected to be introduced in the Senate on March 30. Below are links to the two economic forecasts.
CO Legislative Council Staff-Economics Section Presentation, Natalie Mullis:
Governor’s Office Presentation, Henry Sobanet & Jason Schrock:
Transportation and Capital Construction Funding – based on the SB 09-228 triggers, it is estimated using the current forecast that transportation funding will increase in 2015 – 2016 by about $100m and capital construction by $25m. The 2009 transportation funding bill allows for five years of additional money based on an increase in revenue but if there is too much revenue there would not be any additional funding. Below is a link to a Denver Post editorial that points out this interesting dilemma. Depending on which forecast the JBC uses (likely the Legislative Council forecast), there could be funding for one more year or none.
Minimum Wage Legislation – two bills were introduced this dealing with hikes in minimum wage. HB 1300 would allow local governments to set their own minimum wage which is prohibited under current law. Allowing multiple jurisdictions to decide their own minimum wage will pose a challenge for employers doing business in more than one area. Voters approved a state constitutional amendment in 2006 requiring the state minimum wage to be annually increased by the rate of inflation. The current minimum wage in $8.23.
HCR 1001 was introduced by the same sponsors as a constitutional referendum to voters for the 2016 ballot. It proposes to increase the minimum wage from $8.23 to $12.50 by the year 2020 and by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) each year after starting in 2021. Because this is a constitutional amendment, it requires a two-thirds vote by the legislature which is unlikely given that Republicans have 30 votes in the House and 18 in the Senate.
Police Procedure and Transparency Measures Introduced – with all the national and local attention on police action, 10 major bills have been introduced to address these issues. While many are bipartisan, there are concerns about how far-reaching some of these measures go. These are likely to draw significant interest from law enforcement and community members.
Governor Holds Press Conference on Education Issues – as mentioned in last week’s report, SB 215 was introduced to implement the HB 14-1202 report recommendations on state testing. The Governor along with business and education reform leaders held a press conference this week in support of this legislation. The Governor also indicated his concern about efforts that would allow parents and students to opt-out of statewide testing as it could undermine measures to insure teacher accountability and student growth.
303 507-9587 (C)