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Newsletter: Legislators Limit State Spending

Last week, some of my colleagues and I began to lay a foundation for a responsible and disciplined state budget over the next two years.

The Legislative Budget Board, a small group of legislators that the Lieutenant Governor and I co-chair, set a Constitutionally required limit on state spending. Specifically, we said spending cannot grow by more than 8 percent over the next two years.

This is lower than the limit we set two years ago, reflecting the fact that persistently low oil and gas prices have taken their toll on our state economy. As I've said before, the next state budget is going to be tight. However, I also believe that we will be able to make investments in our top priorities, such as public education and child protection.

In fact, also last week, the House signed off on a plan to provide additional caseworkers and salary increases at Child Protective Services. These initiatives are aimed at reducing massive turnover within CPS and bringing stability to the agency's workforce. We will closely monitor the impact of these additional dollars to ensure that CPS is putting them to their best possible use.

The Legislature will face a number of challenges when we convene for our 140-day session on January 10. But I'm optimistic that we will provide meaningful and lasting solutions to those challenges, and the actions of the last week show that we're off to a good start.