When visiting the Colorado General Assembly website, you’ll find a menu of topics that organize that massive and growing library of information into general topics. Where that menu will appear on your screen and how you might go about selecting a category depends on whether you are using a desktop or laptop computer versus a mobile device such as tablet or phone. From a computer, the menu will likely appear horizontally along the top of your browser window. From a mobile device, look for three horizontal bars and then press that icon to open the menu.
The seventh category in that menu is titled “Budget”, which provides access to the following:
- Budget – An overview of information regarding the state budget
- Explore the Budget – A detailed explanation of the state budget
- JBC Documents – A searchable database of budget documents
- Joint Budget Committee Staff – Information regarding the non-partisan JBC staff
- Joint Technology Committee (JTC) – Information about the year-round committee with oversight of state-level IT projects and the Governor’s Office of Information Technology
- Capital Development Committee (CDC) – Information about the year-round committee with oversight of capital projects of state agencies
Colorado state government operates on a fiscal year that begins July 1 each calendar year and ends June 30 of the following calendar year. Article X, Section 16 of the Colorado Constitution prohibits the state government from appropriating more money than it receives. The state legislature is responsible for appropriating state revenues, which it does through an annual budget, which must be balanced.
The Joint Budget Committee (“JBC”) of the Colorado General Assembly is responsible for crafting that annual, balanced, state budget. The JBC is a six-member committee comprised of three Representatives and three Senators. Two of those Representatives will represent the House Majority Caucus and two of those Senators will represent the Senate Majority Caucus. One of those Representatives will represent the House Minority Caucus and one of those Senators will represent the Senate Minority Caucus.
The Colorado budget process is cyclical and requires the JBC and its non-partisan staff to look ahead to project revenues for the upcoming fiscal year, analyze actual revenues and expenses during the current fiscal year, adjust the current budget in order to maintain the required balance, and to craft the next fiscal year budget based on future projections.
Each year, the annual fiscal year budget is established by a bill that is introduced during the 120-day general session. That bill includes all projected state revenues and expenses, which must balance. That is a very different process than what occurs in Congress, our federal legislature, or in many states.
One thing to keep in mind about the “state budget” is that it includes revenues and expenses of Colorado state government. While the state government may appropriate funds to county, municipal, school district, or special district governments within Colorado, the budget for each of those governmental jurisdictions would be a separate document. Each of those jurisdictions has revenue sources other than the state government and its own budget. Those budgets do not “roll up” into the state budget.
The Budget menu option provides an overview of the complex annual budget process.
The Explore the Budget menu option provides a comprehensive tutorial about the Colorado budget process including sources of revenue, budget timeline, and the size and growth of the state budget.
The JBC Documents menu option provides access to a searchable database of documents created by and for the Joint Budget Committee.
The Joint Budget Committee Staff menu option provides insight to the work of the non-partisan staff who support the JBC specifically and all members of the General Assembly on matters relating to the state budget.
The Joint Technology Committee (JTC) menu option provides information about the year-round Joint Technology Committee (“JTC”), which has oversight authority of state-level information technology projects and the Governor’s Office of Information Technology. The JTC provides information and insight to the JBC about those projects.
The Capital Development Committee (CDC) menu option provides information about the year-round Capital Development Committee (“CDC”), which is a statutory committee that considers capital funding requests from state agencies. The CDC provides information and insight to the JBC about those projects.