Wednesday, February 9, 2011

HB 1052 - the “pay as you go” bill

Weeks before lawmakers will wrestle with balancing the books for the state’s budget in earnest, the partisan sparring seems to have begun over best practices—fiscally speaking.

Addressing the revenue side of the ledger, House Bill 1052 has been dubbed the “pay as you go” bill by its sponsors.

If approved, the measure would require any bill that needs a budget appropriation to show evidence of sufficient revenue—or show where cuts can be made elsewhere to afford the proposal.

Rep. Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder, the sponsor of HB 1052, says it will “ensure the state never spends more money than it has.”

“These are tough economic times and there is nothing more important that we can do as legislators,” Hullinghorst said. She added that lawmakers must, “make it very clear to taxpayers how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent and how the core services they count on are being impacted.”

House Minority Leader Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, says it’s a matter of necessity.

“We’re asking for straight talk on our money, not arbitrary action, but a real conversation about how the budget gets balanced. New programs cost money—money we don’t have,” said Pace. “We should be honest about how we’re going to pay for these.”

Specified in the bill are tax credits and exemptions; the elimination of some, 12 in all, were at the center of a firestorm last year over objections by Republican lawmakers and the business community. If any credits or exemptions were to be restored, or offered anew, HB 10952 would require the sponsor of such legislation to identify “which programs will be directly cut to pay for the new handout,” according to the Democratic sponsors of the measure.

GOP House Finance Committee Chair Rep. Brian DelGrosso, of Loveland, said today that the money the sponsors are referring to belongs to the taxpayers first and foremost, and for the sponsors to cast a loss of revenue as an expenditure for the state just doesn’t make sense.

“Allowing a business or an individual to keep its own money and calling it a revenue expenditure is upside-down thinking,” said Delgrosso. “They’ve had several years to run a bill like this—and now they’re choosing to run it? This bill is just a gimmick to appear fiscally responsible.”

HB 1052 will be in the House Finance Committee Thursday upon adjournment.

Via – CoNewsAgency

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