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State Lawmakers Break Budget Stalemate

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Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature have reached a compromise on the state budget, after weeks of negotiations that were nearly derailed.

The budget is already more than a week late and lawmakers are pushing up against the end of session deadline to move it through both chambers.

“I think both sides have to be willing to swallow a bitter pill and I think both sides were willing to do that, which is a good sign that we can get this budget passed,” says Representative Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver) who sits on the joint budget committee.

Democrats want to shield K-12 schools from deep cuts. While Republicans and Governor Hickenlooper want to keep a 4% budget reserve and reinstate several business tax exemptions that were repealed to help fill last year’s shortfall.

“We all had objectives and it took a lot of conversations and meetings,” says Senator Bill Cadman (R-Colorado Springs). “It’s been fabulous to have a seat at the table. We didn’t just feel like we had a seat at the table, we felt like we set the table.”

Cadman says this is only the second time in 11 years that he’ll vote for a budget. The senate will be the first chamber to debate it.

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