It was disappointing last week to see not a single Republican in the Colorado Senate cast a vote for the 2013-14 state budget.
Disappointing especially because so many Republicans had been willing to vote for state budgets the last two years, when times were harder and more, not fewer, gimmicks had to be employed to balance the budget.
This year's $20.5 billion state budget features a nearly 8 percent increase in spending from the general fund, which grew to $8.2 billion from the prior year's $7.6 billion.
Much of the increase in the general fund is from one-time spikes in revenue for things such as gains in income from stock market activity. But there is no doubt the economy is on the mend.
The return of revenues means lawmakers can increase spending for higher education by $31 million after multiple years of cuts and increase funding for K-12 education by more than $100 million even before the legislature rewrites the school funding formula.
It means the state can increase the budget reserve from 4 percent to 5 percent to help prepare for downturns. It means that for the first time in years, there's also capital improvement money to fix roofs on state buildings and construct some new buildings on college campuses.
And it means state employees can get a 2 percent raise after four years of no salary hikes.
All of those items are pretty good things that reflect a responsible budget, a term not mutually exclusive with increased spending.
Contrast those developments with budgets the last two years, when Republicans held the House. Lawmakers transferred money from cash funds, deferred payments on a police and firefighters' pension fund, cut spending for K-12 and higher education and used other one-time actions to make the math come out right.
For the last two years, all but five of 15 Senate Republicans voted in favor of the budget. Meanwhile, all but one Republican in the House voted for the budget last year and 30 voted for it the year before.
We hope GOP disapproval on the budget this year isn't merely the result of hard feelings over guns, civil unions and other controversial issues Democrats have addressed.
It was sure hard to tell when Sen. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, and a member of the Joint Budget Committee, was ostensibly speaking on the budget Wednesday.
"We have set public policies in this state my caucus believes are of dubious legality and of dubious constitutionality," Lambert said, adding that lawmakers had "effectively banned gun ownership," a claim not supported by the facts.
We hope that when the budget goes to the House, more GOP lawmakers will be inclined to support it the way they have in prior years.
The Denver Post, April 1