Under the Dome column: Participate in the laboratory of democracy – Colorado News

Under the Dome column: Participate in the laboratory of democracy – Colorado News

I don’t know what to write about this month. Every time I get focused on a task somebody sends me a new email, and off I go on another quest for truth and justice. There certainly is no lack of dragons to slay in the world of state government. And they always come back to life.

After three years of trying, Joyce and I have finally downsized from our big wonderful house that we weren’t spending enough time in to an apartment. No more sprinklers to fix or grass to mow. I do miss my tractor. We’ve been on a vacation, gone to several conferences and had lots of meetings with people we represent. Western Colorado is a big place to travel around, and we love it.

We’ll be back in our Denver apartment around the first of November to start the next round of budget work. This will be my fourth year on the Joint Budget Committee. We’ll be starting this budget with a down forecast, an increased prison population, a lot of uncertainty about the future of Medicaid, the usual request to grow state government, etc., etc. The total budget will be around $29 billion, and we’ll have some intense discussions about programs that spend a lot less, like $1 million or $2 million. That’s the political dimension. Some big policy decisions and lots of individual budget line items.

The health and prosperity of rural Colorado was a consistent theme in the Legislature last year and will be again in the coming session. With the Front Range booming and tourism at an all-time high, saturating the resort areas both winter and summer, how can the rest of Colorado share the prosperity. Economic development efforts from the state and local levels are impressive, but I still believe there are…

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