How the annual state budget is determined: The Children’s Campaign explains

Written by: Children's Campaign
Date Posted: November 18, 2022

With a newly elected legislature comes the appointment of a new Joint Budget Committee (JBC) and the start of the annual state budgeting process. The JBC is comprised of three senators and three representatives, and it is one of the most powerful panels in our state government. This committee has purview over Colorado’s roughly $40 billion budget, meeting annually to appropriate funds to programs and services throughout the state and help ensure a balanced budget, as required by the state constitution. Due to current majorities held in both chambers, Democrats will have a 4-2 majority on this committee. 

Every November, the governor is required to submit a proposed budget to the legislature for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on July 1. This proposal includes funding for public education, health programs, transportation, and prisons, among other services. The legislature, largely through the JBC, is required to vet each of the governor’s proposals and vote to approve, deny, or change those requests. The process requires months of JBC hearings, meetings, and negotiations which culminate in a big piece of legislation called the “Long Bill.” If all goes according to plan, the Long Bill is usually approved in April and signed into law by the governor shortly thereafter. 

The Children’s Campaign is currently analyzing Gov. Polis’ proposed budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year. Read our statement on his budget here and review the governor’s budget requests here. The JBC also has resources to help navigate the budgeting process and access their committee meetings. Stay tuned to KidsFlash for more in-depth analysis of the governor’s budget and the legislature’s actions – and how they will impact Colorado kids and families.  

Joint Budget Committee Members 

  • Senator Rachel Zenzinger (D-Jefferson, Chair) 
  • Senator Jeff Bridges (D-Arapahoe) 
  • Senator Bob Rankin (R-Pitkin) 
  • Representative Shannon Bird (D-Adams, Vice chair) 
  • Representative Emily Sirota (D-Denver) 
  • Representative Rod Bockenfeld (R-Arapahoe) 
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About Children's Campaign

The Colorado Children’s Campaign is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization committed since 1985 to realizing every chance for every child in Colorado. We advocate for the development and implementation of data-driven public policies that improve child wellbeing in health, education and early childhood. We do this by providing Coloradans with trusted data and research on child wellbeing and organizing an extensive state-wide network of dedicated child advocates. For more information, please visit www.coloradokids.org.