Joint Budget Commitee, 2021

From left to right, top row: Chair Sen. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City; Vice Chair Rep. Julie McCluskie, D-Dillon; Sen. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale Bottom row: Rep. Kim Ransom, R-Littleton, Sen. Chris Hansen, D-Denver and Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver.

Want to tell the state Legislature how to spend your tax money? Here’s your chance.

At 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, the six-member Joint Budget Committee will hear remote public testimony on Colorado’s budget, including ideas for fiscal year 2020-2021 stimulus proposals and FY 2021-2022 budget requests. The hearing is scheduled to run until 5 p.m. Taxpayers always had the right to tell lawmakers what they think of how their money is being spent, but that right has usually been reserved to emails or phone calls. Public testimony has been available only after the budget is written and in appropriation committee hearings in March and April.

This is a chance for the public to provide input on the state’s budget for 2021-22 while it is being crafted by the committee. The budget is expected to be introduced in late March or early April and must be approved by the General Assembly and signed by the governor before June 30. Lawmakers and the governor try to finish it by June 1 to allow school boards time to finalize their budgets for the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1.

The General Assembly is required by the state Constitution to pass a balanced budget.

“The Legislature is able to deliver real results for our constituents when everyone has the chance to make their voice heard,” said budget committee chairman Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City.

“Citizen input is invaluable, and we want to make sure the public has a seat at the table as we craft our budget. We encourage all to take part in this opportunity and share their vision for how we can rebuild Colorado together.”

The JBC held its first, and to date, only public hearing on the state budget in 2019, but the witness list was primarily made up of those from the education community, who testified in support of full-day kindergarten, which was a top priority that year for Gov. Jared Polis, and education spending increases.

Lawmakers are hoping that members of the public will sign up online (link here for the hearing) to offer either remote testimony or submit written comments. The link also includes information on how to testify in front of the JBC.

No budget idea is off-limits. But witnesses are limited to three minutes each for their oral testimony. If you have trouble signing up, call 303-866-3521 or send an email to committees.lcs.ga@state.co.us.

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