The Joint Budget Committee, with freshman legislator Rep. Jon Becker, (R-Fort Morgan), began making decisions this week on legislation they would carry in the 2011 session, and Becker’s first decision was to prevent increases in
agricultural fees. Becker filled the empty seat created when Rep. Cory Gardner was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
The issue that got Becker’s attention pertained to a state subsidy to some of the department’s divisions that is used to pay for accounting, maintenance of state facilities, and budgeting. Megan Davisson, staff analyst for JBC, recommended eliminating that subsidy, which would have impacted the Brand Board, the Agricultural Products division, and the Chemigation division. In her analysis, Davisson said it was unclear whether taxpayers benefit from the programs that get the subsidy.
On Monday, a bill to eliminate the subsidy was the first item on the JBC`s list of possible bills, and Becker made it clear it wouldn’t get his support. (Bills sponsored by the JBC must win a unanimous, 6-0 committee vote.)