It’s official. We’re looking to cut 3.3 million dollars out of the budget. It’s pretty safe to say the pain will be spread throughout the budget. The Joint Budget Committee is still at work taking a second and third look at every department and every program.

The JBC has a couple of lists going, and the first one is a definitely cut list and that is about $1.7 billion, roughly half of what we need. The second list is smaller, but is filled with things that would get a second look if they didn’t come up with the right amount by the time they finished this pass through the budget.

No one’s said it out loud but I have to wonder if that second look list is sitting there hoping the federal government will come through with another round of stimulus funding, this one aimed at bailing out the states. I have some reservations about that.

To start with, the states are required to balance their budgets with real money, they can’t print money or increase their department by billions or trillions of dollars. A budget that uses schemes putting future generations on the hook to pay current bills is not balanced.

Furthermore, it is not the federal government’s job to bail out the states. The states are sovereign, they retain all powers except those specifically delegated to the Federal government. Colorado’s budget authority has never been delegated to the federal government. However, one thing will be true if a bailout comes, “the borrower will the servant of the lender be.” If we want to be under the control of Washington D.C., all we have to do is become dependent on their handouts.

There will be many budget related debates, but what I really hope for is some good open discussion about how to get businesses open and not just essential businesses. It’s main street America and the people that work in those businesses that are taking it on the chin right now.

Expect to hear a lot of rural legislators make the point that one size does not fit all. There is more to this state than the metro area. Denver needs to do what Denver needs to do, but rural and even some not so rural areas need to be able to do what they need to do.

The best way to get a handle on that budget problem is to get commerce flowing again. The novel coronavirus is with us, it will be with us for some time, we can’t hunker down and wish it away. We need to chart a course within this current reality that protects our basic freedoms and rights. That is the debate we need to be having.

I welcome your thoughts and comments on the happenings at the Capital or back in the district. There are lots of ways to stay in touch. My office phone 303-866-4877, my mobile phone is 719-351-2121, email is SenatorHisey@gmail.com, My Twitter handle is @SenDennisHisey and I’m on Facebook under Senator Dennis Hisey.

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