UPDATE: FOX 31 updates the story:
According to McNulty, Shaffer abruptly left the dinner meeting Thursday night after McNulty told him that next year’s budget must include the “Delgrosso amendment”, a proposal from House Finance Committee Chair Brian Delgrosso, that was left out of an agreement drawn up by Senate lawmakers earlier that afternoon…
But, McNulty, who wasn’t involved in drafting the compromise, refused to back the compromise until it included Delgrosso’s amendment, which would give local governments and school districts the option of increasing the PERA contributions of its employees from 2.5 percent to 4.5 percent.
Delgrosso’s amendment doesn’t have a fiscal impact on next year’s state budget [Pols emphasis], but, McNulty argues, will enable local school districts to increase revenue and thereby keep more teachers in the classroom.
In other words, House Speaker Frank McNulty is demanding that the budget include an amendment that doesn’t impact the budget. Way to legislate like a grownup, Frank.
As FOX 31’s Eli Stokols reports:
Senate President Brandon Shaffer stormed out of a dinner with House Speaker Frank McNulty and Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp after McNulty reportedly torpedoed a proposed [compromise] on next year’s budget, according to multiple sources at the Capitol.
While the media focused on the noisy rallies and a long, emotional hearing over civil unions, Democratic and Republican senators huddled together quietly in Kopp’s office, drawing up an agreement for balancing next year’s budget on scratch paper and napkins…
But, sources close to the situation say McNulty, who wasn’t involved in drafting the compromise, is not getting on board.
Lawmakers had been hoping to reach an agreement this week so as to be able to introduce the budget for Fiscal Year 2011-12 some time next week.
Something weird is going on here, folks–House Speaker Frank McNulty isn’t supposed to be the unreasonable party in these negotiations. The fact that Senate President Brandon Shaffer was able to hammer out a budget compromise with his minority counterpart, arch-conservative Sen. Mike Kopp, is a very significant development. The Joint Budget Committee’s partisan paralysis is forcing others to come together and try to make a deal. And the clock is ticking down rapidly on this legislative session–the budget is already very late.
So what the hell is McNulty doing?
We noted earlier this week news that a significant number of Republican elected officials, including McNulty, recently quit the hard-right Republican Study Committee of Colorado policy group run by former Sen. Dave Schultheis. Along with the election of Ryan Call (instead of “Tea Party” favorite Sen. Ted Harvey) to the post of state Republican Party chairman, we were ready to interpret these moves as a sign that the GOP in this state was becoming aware of its internal failures, and might really try to put forward a newly pragmatic and moderate image.
We wrote that the day before Amy Stephens backstabbed the health care exchange bill in a flurry of nonsense about “Obamacare,” the day before Republicans in a House committee killed a civil union bill that would have passed in the full House with bipartisan support, and just as McNulty was evidently deciding to position himself to the right of Mike Kopp on the budget.
They’re determined to prove us wrong, aren’t they?