Budget approved, session ends

The 2016 Legislature adjourned for the year on Tuesday night, the 20th day of a special session. In the end we completed updates to our state budget, which included investments in improved mental health treatment at Western State Hospital. We also provided funding for additional support and training for our K-12 teachers in order to recruit and retain great educators.

The House Majority originally proposed dramatic increases in state spending, raiding emergency reserves and increasing taxes by $400 million over the next three years.

The final result mirrors our most recent Senate proposal and provides strategic investments in mental health treatment, increased protections for people with developmental disabilities, and funding to sustain our historic tuition cuts at state colleges and universities that greatly help middle-class working families. Like in years past, this was all done without raising your taxes.

Most importantly, this year’s budget update complies with our unique four-year balanced budget requirement. That means projected spending and anticipated tax collections must balance not only in the current budget cycle but also the next. This key piece of fiscal restraint remained under attack by the House Majority this year, but we were successful in keeping it in place to prevent irresponsible spending increases in the short-term that create massive long-term problems.