DENVER – Governor John Hickenlooper is requesting the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) to make a decision about funding for Colorado’s Energy Office on Tuesday. The governor is asking the committee to approve providing $3.1 million in supplemental funding to avoid 24 potential layoffs and shutting down the office’s state programs.
During the legislative session, state lawmakers voted to cut state funding for the energy office. Representatives and senators raised questions about the role of the office and what direction it is going in concerning decisions about renewable energy, oil and gas.
“Having an office dedicated to us being innovative, competitive, efficient and effective with our energy use is really critical," said Conservation Colorado Advocacy Director Theresa Conley.
The Executive Department came to the JBC early in the legislative session and asked lawmakers to run the legislation as a Joint Budget Committee bill. Lawmakers declined the request and instead wanted it to go through the normal legislative process. Late in the spring session, Senate Bill 301, which would have funded the energy office, did not make it through. Some lawmakers believe this legislation should go back through the process in the next session.
“We are an energy producing state and we do need to think about how it all fits together. If this office is necessary to do that I would like to hear that, I would like to see something I can support next year," said Representative of District 57 and JBC member Bob Rankin.