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How and why El Paso County lawmakers voted on Colorado budget

April 1, 2016 Updated: April 2, 2016 at 7:26 am
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photo - Colorado State Capitol Building
Colorado State Capitol Building 

DENVER - Colorado's $27 billion budget passed the state House of Representatives Friday with a 39-26 vote.

Only five Republicans supported House Bill 1405, the long bill, that was drafted by the bipartisan Joint Budget Committee. It now heads to the Republican controlled Senate for consideration.

Here are how some El Paso County lawmakers voted and why:

Rep. Kit Roupe, R-Colorado Springs

Vote: Yes

Why? "I had a lot of misgivings. I am very concerned about transportation. I am very concerned about health care and our reimbursements there. I think that there could have been a better way of doing it this year ... but by and large, there is a lot of good things that happened in the budget as well."

Issues: Roupe said she liked the fact that the budget fully funded a family planning program, about $2.5 million in the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. "I think prevention is worth a pound of cure. Not to be too cliché, but it's very important."

Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, R-Colorado Springs

Vote: No

Why? "I was very disappointed that the Joint Budget Committee put funding for abortion pills in the long bill in such a way that it could not be removed on the House floor, and I take my pro-life voting record very seriously. I would be fine with family planning, I would be fine with some kinds of birth control, but when the taxpayers are funding post-conception abortion pills, that crosses the line."

Issues: Klingenschmitt said the family planning program funds three kinds of birth control that he opposes, inter-uterine devices, Plan B and Ella.

Rep. Dan Nordberg, R-Colorado Springs

Vote: No

Why? "I recognize that putting the budget together is always a challenge, and I recognize the difficulties our JBC has, but it reflects a 5 percent increase in spending - and that's half a billion dollars. I think that is out of line with our economy. How many Colorado families budgets have increased by 5 percent?"

Issues: Nordberg said he was disappointed the state isn't making a full transfer to a transportation fund that was called for by Senate Bill 228 in 2009. Instead, lawmakers passed a separate bill that cut $50 million from the $200 million transfer.

Rep. Pete Lee, D-Colorado Springs

Vote: Yes

Why? "The Joint Budget Committee studies these issues in great depth, and they are working virtually year-round listening to the departments to find out what the major issues and concerns are. And if they are being told major tweaks are important, then we have to listen to that."

Issues: "The fact that we were able to increase funding for education (and) we were able to move some money into transportation funding were two really significant parts of the budget."

Rep. Janak Joshi, R-Colorado Springs

Vote: No

Why? "This was the biggest budget we've had in the state's history. We could have been better on many areas. There were priorities that were not aligned with what our needs were."

Issues: "We have taxpayer-funded lobbyists and a lot of dues that the state is paying. There is no need for all of that ... so I had an amendment to take half of that money and put it into transportation and toward the Medicaid providers." The amendment failed.

Rep. Paul Lundeen, R-Monument

Vote: No

Why? "It grows government faster than household budgets are growing. It grows government faster than the economy is growing. It doesn't, in my opinion, adequately prioritize. We are creating new programs when we are failing to fund critical things like roads, specifically I-25 between Monument and Castle Rock."

Issues: "There's $1.5 million Senate side and $1.5 million House side of just a laundry list of just this member wants this or this member wants that. When the reality is there are clear statewide priorities that are not being funded." The budget sets aside $3 million to fund lawmaker's bills being passed this legislative session.

Rep. Terri Carver, R-Colorado Springs

Vote: No

Why? "I was very disappointed that, despite the many amendments that we considered during consideration of the long bill, that more money was not designated to transportation. I have been deeply disappointed, that while transportation is supposed to be a priority, that we don't see that same commitment reflected when it comes to how we allocate money in our budget."

Issues: Carver voted against a companion bill to the budget that reduced the SB 228 transfer to transportation by $50 million. "After having waited since 2009 to get one penny of 228 money, we should have gotten the full $200 million."

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