The dust has settled and it's a split decision. C passes and D fails.
The people of Colorado have given state government several more billion dollars, but also said pay as you go and don't mortgage our future.
The Taxpayers' Bill of Rights required government to live within its means. Since Referendum C will now remove much of that constitutional restraint, the legislature must find a way to exercise self-restraint. It's a novel idea for a legislature, but anything less will ultimately be a disaster for Colorado citizens, families and businesses. Without a much greater restraint that we have exercised before, it will not be long before the state budget will need more tax money than what C is already taking from the people.
As I see it, the state needs a savings account, not a spending spree. That is why I initially introduced a rainy day bill in my first session in the House. I pledge to continue to fight for long-term fiscal plans that will work in good and bad times.
We must also address the budget items that are supposedly on "automatic pilot." That is why I will continue to offer solutions for the budget busting parts of Medicaid and Amendment 23. We can cure the priority disparity between K-12 and higher education by modifying Amendment 23 to be a simple and straightforward guarantee of per-pupil funding plus inflation for K-12 and college. Measures that expand school choice and encourage cost effective private education should also be incorporated into Colorado's public policy.
Medicaid reform is essential. The federal government is begging states to find solutions that save Medicaid dollars. Colorado cannot afford to watch this 40-year-old bureaucratic system continue to devour valuable general fund dollars. Medicaid will take time to fix, so we must start now to see savings before our budget is again way out of control.
Due to the constraints of the constitution, Colorado state government spending has been automatically under control. Now the test begins. With the constitutional controls dramatically reduced, can we find that internal restraint to maintain a limited government system that is good for families and businesses of Colorado, or will this influx of cash be squandered on spending that grows, once again, beyond our long-term ability to pay?
The people have entrusted the legislature with much more of their hard-earned money. I ask the legislative members of both parties to use this newly granted authority and responsibility wisely.
Can we come together with prudent plans that live within our means?
The next legislative session will be the answer.
Rep. Kevin Lundberg
House District 49