Presentation by OSPB
COMMITTEE ON JOINT FINANCE
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12:45 PM -- Presentation by Mr. Todd Saliman, Office of State Planning and Budgeting (OSPB)
12:46 PM -- Mr. Todd Saliman, Office of State Planning and Budgeting (OSPB), distributed a handout on the Governor's budget balancing plan (Attachment C) and began by giving the committee a broad overview of the office's functions. Mr. Saliman noted that the primary role of the office is to provide the Governor with timely and complete information and recommendations so that he can make public policy decisions. He continued by saying that the office has eight primary functions:
--- developing reliable revenue estimates;
--- developing a budget;
--- developing proposals for new legislation;
--- tracking legislation and monitoring the legislative budget process;
--- advocating for the Governor's priorities;
--- monitoring budget implementation;
--- providing accurate public information; and
--- operating efficiently as an office.
Mr. Saliman continued by discussing the handout on Governor Ritter's budget balancing plan for FY 2009-10 and some changes to the current year's budget. The recommendation includes $631.9 million of General Fund reductions, transfers and diversions, and reserve changes. Mr. Saliman continued by saying that the top priority is protecting life-safety and public health for people in the state.
The committee briefly discussed some of the reductions that the legislature enacted during the last economic downturn in 2001 and 2002. Mr. Saliman responded by saying that in this downturn, the Governor would like to protect funding for higher education to the extent possible. However, he noted that the proposed budget reductions will cut deeply into many vital state services.
Mr. Saliman continued by saying that the proposed reductions may also increase the resolve of the legislature to seek common ground on addressing the constitutional constraints that affect the state's budget. He noted that while TABOR reform will not solve the immediate problem, some changes may make it possible for the state to continue providing essential state services as the economy recovers.
Mr. Saliman said that the Governor's plan for FY 2009-10 contains $1,026.7 million in proposals to address next year's General Fund shortfall. He continued by discussing some General Fund expenditure changes saying that statewide furloughs and other adjustments may be included in the mix of reductions. For example, the Governor's plan proposes to implement 5 state employee furlough days in the FY 2009-10 budget that would save the state $7.6 million. In regard to General Fund obligations, the Governor's plan proposes to lower Fire and Police Pension Association (FPPA) payments by $34.8 million in FY 2009-10. Mr. Saliman also touched upon modifications to the senior homestead exemption noting that the impact to the General Fund may exceed $90 million in FY 2009-10. The General Assembly has the ability to change the benefit in this constitutional exemption.
Mr. Saliman closed by saying that the office and the Governor look forward to working with the legislature on the budget balancing plan.