On December 4th GSV met with Natalie Mullis, Chief Economist at the Colorado Legislative Council Staff, to gain insight into “The Negative Factor”. Ms. Mullis was extremely helpful in explaining the reasons why cuts to the Education Fund have been disproportionately high and restorations have been disproportionately low. She explained the history of the General Fund, how TABOR, Gallagher, and Amendment 23 impact education funding, and the Governor’s role in proposing a budget. Ms. Mullis showed us how the budget is actually quite healthy now, but will be severely impacted in 2016-2017 when the population growth plus inflation will not meet demands. We came away with the understanding that education needs to be prioritized and consistently funded at the state level.
February 12th was an eventful day at the State Capitol for GSV. Our day began at the House of Representatives as guests of the speaker of the House, Dicky Lee Hollinghorst. We saw many familiar faces and were greeted by Representatives Foote and Singer. We then attended the State Senate Education Committee meeting and had the opportunity to meet with the chair of the committee, Senator Owen Hill, to introduce ourselves and learn about his priorities.
On March 4th we took another trip to Denver to meet in person with Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia to discuss the mission of our organization. He emphasized the importance of being present in the Capitol. We wanted to explore with the Lt. Governor how we might expand our mission to the state level and gain a deeper understanding of where he and the Governor stand on prioritizing education.