Colorado State Archives
Executive Orders from the Administration of Governor Bill Owens 1999-2005
Monday, May 2, 2005
Dan Hopkins 303-866-6324
Mark Salley 303-866-6323
OWENS SIGNS 'RESTRAINED' STATE BUDGET
Fiscal plan hit hard by mandates that consume twice the new dollars available<
(DENVER) - Gov. Bill Owens today signed the 2005-06 state budget into law, noting the fiscal plan contains a conservative 4 percent increase in spending, with education and Medicaid mandates consuming twice the amount of new dollars available.
"This is a responsible and restrained budget, but one that is hit hard by spending mandates," the Governor said. "In fact, the budget has about $112 million in new dollars, yet education and Medicaid mandates require us to spend $285 million, or much more than double our new dollars."
He said this and other fiscal realities were the driving force behind the bipartisan budget agreement he reached earlier this year to help the state complete its economic recovery - and preserve Colorado's Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) with key legislators.
"The fiscal constraints being driven by huge mandates are the catalyst causing us to ask voters for relief this November," Owens said. "This budget paints a clear picture of why we were compelled to use the provisions of TABOR to ask our voters for help."
The Governor also highlighted a transitional accounting issue required as the state launches it College Opportunity Fund program. The program, which funds higher education through the awarding of individual stipends to students, necessitates a "double counting" of higher education dollars in this budget only. The dollars are counted first as a General Fund appropriation and then a second time as income for the institutions.
"A casual observer of Colorado's budget could be led to the erroneous conclusion that our budget is about $800 million larger than it really is," Owens said.
Stressing the need to preserve the Constitutional balance of power between the Governor's Office and the Legislature, Owens also used his line item veto powers to strike out 96 headnotes and footnotes in the budget bill. This dispute between the two branches of state government remains the focus of litigation.
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