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Gov. Bill Ritter signed budget reform Senate Bill 228 into law this morning. The controversial bill -- the work of bipartisan co-sponsors Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, Rep. Don Marostica, R-Loveland, and Rep. Lois Court, D-Denver -- made an amazing journey this past legislative session. And, as law, will now serve to test hotly debated partisan theories about public spending in the state.
Senate Bill 228, the controversial budget reform bill introduced to lawmakers and the public in February, was passed in the House today, clearing yet another hurdle on its remarkable path toward loosening the state's famously rigid spending structure. Sponsored by Colorado Springs Democratic Sen. John Morse and Loveland Republican Rep. Don Marostica, the bill inspired exasperated attacks in the Senate that culminated in an historic GOP filibuster, where members of the minority party argued the bill was an unconstitutional attack on voter-mandated spending limits and that it would drain the state's transportation fund.
Turns out Rep. Don Marostica, R-Loveland, wasn't lying when he said there was room in the state House to negotiate on SB 228, the controversial budget reform bill he is co-sponsoring with Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs. As the Denver Post reported Tuesday, the bill, which passed out of the senate last week, is headed in the House directly to the Transportation and Energy Committee, a revealing legislative path.
The latest crusader against Colorado budget reform bill SB 228, which passed out of the Senate yesterday on a party-line vote, is none other than Walker Stapleton, who is reportedly angling to become state treasurer in 2010 and who is also George W. Bush's first cousin once removed -- although Stapleton makes no mention of that fact on Keep the Cap Colorado, the new anti-SB 228 Web site he launched Tuesday. If you didn't recognize the Bush family connection straightaway, don't feel bad, because you would have figured it out soon enough -- because it's impossible not to. You would have recognized the know-nothing audacity and privileged sense of political entitlement.
Directly after his budget reform bill cleared the State Senate on Tuesday with a 21-14 party-line vote on Tuesday, sponsor John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, joined supporters in the Capitol's west lobby to celebrate its passage and rally support for the tough battle that awaits it in the House.
Colorado inched closer toward fiscal sanity today. Budget reform bill 228 passed the Senate this morning after roughly three hours of back and forth on the chamber floor, where GOP senators renewed the same objections they voiced to no effect during the vote held two weeks ago — objections that the bill is unconstitutional and will lead to greater taxes and big government, et cetera.
After more than a week of delays and backstage negotiation, today may be the day controversial Colorado budget reform bill SB 228 passes out of the Senate and makes its way to the House. If the last few weeks are any guide, the bill will likely spark legislative fireworks on both sides of the aisle. Depending on the Senate schedule, the bill's sponsor, Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, and a growing list of supporters are planning a noon rally at the Capitol either to send the bill off to the House with a bang or to bolster support for its passing in the Senate. Outspoken Republican Rep. Don Marostica, R-Loveland, who sits on the Joint Budget Committee, is SB 228's House sponsor and plans to attend the rally with Morse today.
What happened to Colorado budget reform bill 228? After reframing the debate on the state budget, energizing lawmakers for and against, spawning a GOP Senate filibuster and thrashing the voice of sponsor Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, SB 228 slipped offstage -- reportedly to star in back-room bargaining sessions.
Colorado has one of the most complex fiscal systems in the entire country. We are not, in our current form, adequately suited to deal with ever-changing economic realities. The Colorado General Assembly is currently debating a bill, Senate Bill 228, that would repeal an outdated budget formula and untie the state’s hands to get us out of the recession more quickly.
The Colorado Senate GOP filibuster that went into the wee hours of Monday morning makes for high political drama and probably some juicy negative ad fodder for the next campaign cycle. But there were 14 elephants who forgot their own roles in the transportation funding crisis. Referendum D, anyone?
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