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April 01, 2024 02:12 PM UTC

House Republicans Kick Ball Over Fence on State Budget (Again)

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  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: House Republicans appear to have already deleted the post from ‘X’ that we included below…

—–
The Colorado legislature is only required by the State Constitution to do one thing in every legislative session: Pass a budget for the state fiscal year that begins on July 1.

There is no avoiding this duty for legislators, regardless of the political makeup under the Gold Dome. Both the State House and the State Senate are Constitutionally-required to approve a balanced budget each and every year. Republicans have recently threatened to draw out the process of finalizing the budget (also called the “Long Bill”), but ultimately decided against wasting time because it serves no actual purpose for them.

From a political standpoint, the Long Bill discussion and voting has a way of crystalizing which state lawmakers are in the building to get things done…and which ones are just there to find content for social media postings. Voting “NO” on the State Budget means that you are essentially leaving it to your colleagues to cast the votes that make sure Colorado’s Constitution is followed. Today’s final House vote on the budget proved once again that Democrats are the adults in the room and Republicans are just there to throw rocks.

Rep. Brandi Bradley (R-Littleton) was mad that one of her amendments was rejected…but she wouldn’t have voted for the final budget anyway.

The House of Representatives approved the State Budget by a 46-18 margin this morning, with only one Republican casting a ‘YES’ vote (Rep. Rick Taggart, who sits on the Joint Budget Committee). This was similar to the 2023 budget vote, which passed the House by a 47-16 margin, though 3 Republicans voted yes (Reps. Rick Taggart, Rod Bockenfeld, and Ron Weinberg).

This has become sadly similar to what happens in Congress when right-wing Republicans stomp their feet while the adults get the work done. Just a few weeks ago, House Speaker “MAGA” Mike Johnson needed Democratic votes to prevent a government shutdown. A total of 108 House Republicans — including Colorado Reps. Lauren Boebert and Ken Buck — voted “NO” on the funding resolution. In Boebert’s case, she voted “NO” even though the funding bill included millions of dollars in “earmarks” for her constituents (and which she later bragged about “accomplishing”).

In the State House this year, Republicans proposed some $100 million in amendments for their own political/district interests…and then they voted “NO” on the final vote for passage of the budget. Following in the footsteps of Boebert, Republicans naturally patted themselves on the back even though none of this would have been possible without Democrats voting to approve the budget.

House Minority Leader Rose Pugliese brags about funding for things she and the rest of her caucus ACTUALLY opposed.

Right-wing Republicans in the state legislature and in Congress are doing the same thing: Making themselves functionally irrelevant on important discussions. When everybody knows that right-wing Republicans are going to vote “NO” regardless of where the discussions lead, then there is no incentive for anyone else to even bother including them in the negotiations. Why would Democrats, for example, give any serious attention to Republican arguments about specific amendments when they know full well that those same Republicans are going to vote against the budget anyway?

On a recent episode of “The Daily” podcast, New York Times Congressional reporter Catie Edmundson explained the situation in Congress that applies equally to Colorado:

I think the story of this Congress is that when you have a group like the far-right Freedom Caucus who just says ‘No’ to everything, all the time, then you essentially deal yourself out of the process at key moments. And the end result of it has been that everyone else in Congress has decided that the only way to move forward is to work around them. 

Even kids understand this logic. If you play a game with a certain group of kids and the result is that somebody always kicks the ball over the fence…eventually you just stop playing with that group of kids altogether.

 

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