Dem leaders tighten belts, cut legislative budgets by $1.04 million

Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll and President of the Senate Brandon Shaffer have directed the House, the Senate, and the legislative staff agencies to make significant cuts in their legislative budgets. For this fiscal year, they have asked that a total of $1,042,000 be cut as follows:

• Equivalent of 12 furlough days. The equivalent of 12 furlough days of the salaries of legislative employees will be returned to the general fund at the close of the current fiscal year. Savings could be accomplished through furloughs, delayed hiring of staff, lower salaries, or similar cut-backs. This will save approximately $700,000.

• Restrict budget to a 6-day special session.

The current budget contains $300,000 for the possibility of conducting 15 days of special session. By limiting any special sessions to a total of six days or fewer, the equivalent of nine days of special session ($180,000) can be returned to the general fund. Ultimately, if there is no special session, all $300,000 could be reverted.

• No out-of-state travel for legislators.

Members of the General Assembly will not be authorized to use state funds for out of state travel so that $129,000 can be saved.

• Delay computer leases.

The scheduled upgrade of leased computers will be delayed, saving $33,000.

For the next fiscal year:

• No interim committees in 2010/2011.

As an initial step in cuts for next year, all funding for committee work that would usually be conducted during the interim following May of 2010 will be eliminated. While budgeting, auditing, and certain review functions will continue, the curtailment of the usual interim committee work will result in a savings of approximately $70,000 during the next fiscal year.

Speaker of the House Carroll said, “Every Coloradan around every kitchen table is doing the same thing we are doing: looking at our income, tightening our belts and balancing our House’s budget. Today’s cuts will help put Colorado on the road to economic recovery tomorrow.”

Senate President Brandon Shaffer said, “We are dedicated to making the legislative branch run efficiently and effectively. These are not easy decisions and we are going to have to make some more difficult choices next session. People out there are hurting and we need to make sure the state is doing what it can to save money and get Colorado back on the road to recovery.”

The budget cuts announced today are only an initial step in making cuts for the fiscal year 2010/2011.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Colorado ranks 47th in spending per capita on the legislative branch and ranks 45th when measured by the percentage of general government spending dedicated to the legislature.