04 August 2010

State Stimulus Bill To Clear Senate

A bill authorizing $26 billion dollars in stimulus money for state and local governments is sure to pass the Senate, now that a procedural hurdle was passed.

This is huge news for Colorado, because one of the main reasons that Governor Ritter and the Joint Budget Committee have such a big gap in the state general funds budget to close, an estimated $1 billion in a $7 billion general funds budget, is because they weren't able to rely at that point on federal stimulus money.

Passage is assured because any bill that can escape a filibuster possibility in the U.S. Senate usually passes and usually, the Senate is the make or break point in passing legislation these days, as most bills that pass either house of Congress only do so with Presidential support, and Democrats can generally manage to get a bare majority behind anything that could get support from sixty Senators. The House plans to summon its members back from their August recess to pass the bill.

While passage of the bill doesn't necessarily mean that Colorado won't have to make another round of public sector budget cuts, it does mean that the cuts definitely won't be as deep. A recent report estimated that state and local governments would have to cut 500,000 jobs if they didn't receive federal aids, and Krugman has described the phenomena of state and local governments cutting their budgets in the midst of high unemployment and economic hard times as "Little Hoovers."

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