These are all of the Budget bills proposed in the 2019 session. Each bill has its own bill number, please use your browser search feature to find the bill you are interested in. Return to the Colorado home page to pick a different bill category.
None of the text is the opinion of Engage. Each bill's description, arguments for, and arguments against are our best effort at describing what each bill does, arguments for, and arguments against the bill. The long description is hidden by design, you can click on it to expand it if you want to read more detail about the bill. If you believe we are missing something, please contact us with your suggestion. Some of these bills have the notation that they have been sent to the chamber's "kill" committee. This means that the leadership has decided to send the bill to the State committee even though it does not belong there based on its subject matter. This committee, in both chambers, is stacked with members from "safe" districts and the idea is to kill the bill without forcing any less safe members to take a hard vote. It is possible for a bill to survive the kill committee, but it is very rare.
Prime sponsors are given after each bill, with Senate sponsors in () and House sponsors in . They are color-coded by party.
Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Major, Medium, Minor, and Technical. This is a combination of the change the bill would create and the "controversy" level of the bill. Some minor bills that are extending current programs would be major changes if they were introducing something new, but the entire goal here is to allow you to better curate your time. Something uncontroversial likely to pass nearly unanimously that continues a past program may not be worth your time (and please remember, you can still read all of the minor bills!). Technical bills are here to round out the list. They are non-substantive changes.
Click on the Senate bill title to jump to its section:
HB19-1061 Zero-based Budgeting Review Principal Departments [Bockenfield]
Require the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee to annually review two of the state’s principal departments using a zero-based budgeting method. The departments will rotate so that each one is reviewed once every 10 years.
Long Description: n/a
Our current budgeting procedure involves departments making requests for funding, the governor submitting a budget proposal based on those requests, and then the Joint Budget Committee going through and creating their own budget, which the legislature then considers, based on these starting points. This allows the departments far too much leeway in examining their own roles and functions and over time can create waste as well as a “use or lose it” mentality whereby departments actually search for ways they can spend the money they were allocated so they can ask for at least the same amount next year. By forcing each department to examine and justify all of its expenses every ten years, we can ensure that we are really spending money the way we want to without overburdening departments with more frequent x-rays, which is the mistake that other states have made in trying to implement this process. Departments are going to find things they cannot justify and therefore won’t ask for funding for. We may find programs that aren’t really working and cannot be justified. We may find duplicative overlap between programs. In short, we may spend our tax dollars more efficiently and be able to better tackle our chronic education and transportation funding issues.
Our current budgeting system has stood the state well for several reasons. One is that we leave the decisions about how best to run the departments to the actual departments and the experts involved there, not to the general assembly. What this reasonable sounding bill may actually do is create massive amounts of work for these departments and then drop the decision making on justification into the laps of legislators who cannot possibly understand the nuts and bolts of how departments work but will presumably turn the process into a partisan food fight over programs the legislators (from both sides of the political aisle) do not like. It is also extremely difficult to justify long-term positive effects and to untangle federal and state statutory requirements. This process proved to be so unworkable when instituted by President Jimmy Carter that President Ronald Reagan abandoned it almost immediately. Florida tried this exact periodic review process and abandoned it after three years. Oklahoma ditched it after one. No state has ever created this process and stuck with it.