Ritter thanks Congress for FMAP extension; Lamborn derides the act

Gov. Bill Ritter issued a statement this morning applauding Congress and the White House for passing a six-month extension Tuesday of the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for states as part of H.R.1586 – Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act.

The funds enhance payouts to states for Medicaid after Medicaid numbers grew in the wake of the economic downturn. The extension further provides $10 billion to to keep teachers on the job.

“On behalf of the people and businesses of Colorado, thank you to the president and the Congress — specifically those members of Colorado’s delegation who voted yes — for supporting this crucial legislation,” Ritter said. “This allows us to maintain essential public services and avoid deep, devastating cuts. We have already cut our budget and closed shortfalls of $3.5 billion over the past two years. This will keep us moving forward on the road to recovery.”

In Colorado, FMAP American Reinvestment Act dollars have saved the state from having to cut $211 million from the general fund to support Medicaid liabilities. Those funds would likely have been sliced from one of the few places left to cut in the Colorado budget: education.

The federal government picks up 50 percent of the Medicaid expenses incurred from resident use of the program in the state. FMAP extended that to roughly 61 percent.

Last week the Senate passed the FMAP extension, with the House passing and Obama signing the legislation into law Tuesday.

On Aug. 4, Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, a supporter of the FMAP extension, tweeted that FMAP passage would save the jobs of 2,400 teachers.

Colorado Congressman Doug Lamborn, who along with other Colorado Republicans voted against the bill in the House, said that the bailout would hurt private-sector jobs.

“Democrats suggest this bill will temporarily ‘save’ unionized, state government jobs. But what they won’t tell you is that the $9.6 billion in permanent tax hikes they would impose to ‘pay for’ that extension of stimulus would destroy over 141,000 private-sector jobs. That would be on top of the 2.5 million private sector jobs already eliminated in the wake of their 2009 stimulus plan. ”

Lamborn called for tax cuts for businesses instead of propping up teachers jobs.

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