Colorado lawmakers consider easing spending limits
DENVER, Colorado ” Lawmakers are considering a plan to eliminate a cap on spending as they seek ways to cut $625 million from this year’s state budget.
Increases in state revenue usually require voter approval. But Rep. Don Marostica, a Republican from Loveland who sits on the Joint Budget Committee, says lawmakers believe they have the authority to change the law.
The spending limit, known as the Arveschoug-Bird limit from its 1991 sponsors, set a 6 percent cap on increases in general fund spending.
Marostica disclosed the idea on Monday after lawmakers were briefed on a plan to balance the current budget ending July 1.
The money has to be cut because tax collections are dropping because of the recession.
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The budget committee has recommended balancing the budget largely by taking $244 million from funds set up to pay for specific programs and withdrawing about $150 million from the state’s reserve fund. They’re also counting on getting over $100 million in extra Medicaid funding from the federal stimulus package.
About $90 million of the recommended cuts come directly from state agencies, mainly public schools and higher education.