Friday, May 6, 2011 — Gov. John Hickenlooper today signed Senate Bill 11-209 (the FY 2011-12 Long Bill) and endorsed supporting legislation that will help balance the state’s budget.
“This budget represents a crucial first step in bridging the structural gap between Colorado’s General Fund revenues and expenditures,” Hickenlooper wrote in a letter to the General Assembly. “While our challenges are not yet over, we are encouraged by the collaboration and hard work from all parties involved in the budget process. Our task next year will be difficult, but the framework for a productive process is firmly established.”
Senate Bill 11-209 does not balance the budget on its own, and a shortfall of nearly $70 million remains without General Assembly support of Senate Joint Resolution 11-009 (which for a third straight year declares a fiscal emergency to free up certain revenue) and final passage of Senate Bill 11-076 (which continues an increased amount that state Employees pay to PERA).
“I am signing Senate Bill 11-209 with the full confidence that the General Assembly will pass the critical legislation needed in the remaining five days of the session,” Hickenlooper said. “However, if these bills do not pass, my plan will be to restrict appropriations in the budget.”
Those restrictions include withholding $48.8 million for the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (resulting in a reduction of Medicaid provider rates) and withholding $20 million for the Department of Education.
Also today, Hickenlooper vetoed eight footnotes in Senate Bill 11-209 because of violations to Article III and/or Article V of the Colorado Constitution. “The executive department cannot abide by legislative directives which are in violation of the Colorado Constitution,” Hickenlooper wrote in his letter to lawmakers.
The full letter and Hickenlooper’s footnote veto explanations can be found online by clicking here.