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1/11/2018 Gold Dome Lights On
Colorado’s legislators went back to work under the Capitol’s Gold Dome yesterday, and in anticipation, leaders from both sides of the aisle are using words we haven’t heard in some time – cooperation, bipartisanship and compromise. While the state’s 65 House members and 35 Senate members face some challenges in 2018, there are no real crises on the horizon. The legislature will be mulling a proposed budget of around $30.5 billion – a 3.7 percent increase over the 2017 budget. (Constitutionally, there can be no deficit spending.) Colorado is currently riding high with plenty of upbeat forecasts. The state’s population is expected to increase by just under 100,000 in the coming year, and some 53,000 new jobs are anticipated which will keep the state’s unemployment rate at about 2.4 percent, well below the national average. But there are some challenges as well: aging infrastructure, some sorely needed transportation projects and upgrades, funding of public and higher education, pressures on the state’s health care systems. This will be the final term for Democrat Governor John Hickenlooper, who is term limited following two four-year terms. (And who is toying with a presidential run in 2020.) He is calling for bipartisanship, as are Senate GOP Majority Leader Kevin Grantham of Canon City, and House Democrat Speaker Crisanta Duran of Denver. (The Senate has 18 Republicans, 16 Democrats and one Independent; the House is Dem-heavy, with 37 Democrats, 28 Republicans and one current vacancy.) The legislature has until next May to conduct its business. We have confidence that the best interests of Colorado and its citizens will prevail. Custer County’s elected officials, both Republicans, are District 60 Representative Jim Wilson of Salida, and District 35 Senator Larry Crowder of Alamosa. Questions or concerns? Reach Wilson at the Capitol at 303/866-2747 or at james.wilson.house@state.co.us; contact Crowder at the Capitol at 303/566-4875 or at larry.crowder.senate@state.co.us.