I look forward to showing off southwest Colorado to the Capital Development Committee during our last tour for the interim beginning in Denver on Oct. 11 and concluding on the 12th and 13th with a tour of our own Southwest Colorado Community College and Fort Lewis College.
Time will not allow the committee to see more of our part of the state, but I hope to do a little bragging while they are here.
Every 10 years after the census, state Senate and House district lines must be redrawn to adjust for changes in population.
Each House district needs about 77,000 people and the 59th District as now exists has about the right number. But, sometimes politics trumps common sense, and the Reapportionment Commission, which is responsible for drawing those lines has taken most of Montezuma County away from the 59th House District and added part of San Miguel County, including Telluride and Ouray County.
The new district configuration has been sent to the Supreme Court to see if it will pass Constitutional and statutory muster.
I believe that the Supreme Court should remand the plan to the Commission for a number of reasons.
The law states that counties should be kept whole as much as possible. In the proposed plan, San Miguel County is split.
The law says that a district must be kept as compact as possible. The proposed district adds two more counties divided by millions of acres of mountain ranges.
The law says that communities of interest must be preserved. Do the folks from North of Red Mountain and Lizard Head passes come to Durango to shop?? How about the Region 9 Economic District, the Board of Cooperative Services, and other government organizations? Do they include Telluride? Everyone knows that the community of interest in southwest Colorado is Cortez, Durango, Pagosa Springs and all of the communities in between.
There are many other reasons that the 59th House District should stay like it is. The decision will last much longer than J. Paul Brown. I hope to live long enough to be represented by other state Representatives. That person should represent our local community.
The economic forecast for Colorado was recently released.
The good news is that the 2010-12 budget ended the year in balance. You may remember that at the first part of the last legislative session we had to cut the budget because the previous Legislature and administration had overestimated revenue. In fact, cuts to the 2010-11 budget had to be made several times during that year.
House Speaker Frank McNulty and the Republican majority insisted that we adopt a more realistic budget for 2011-12; which we did. The current Legislative Council forecast shows that the fiscal year (FY) 2011-12 budget is in balance and predicts that revenue will be $64.3 million higher than the amount appropriated and set aside in reserve when the fiscal year ends on June 30, 2012. No painful cuts midyear.
This is a huge improvement.