Any semblance of bipartisanship that may have existed in the Colorado State House during the first weeks of the 2011 legislative session seemed to evaporate on Tuesday after Democrats and Republicans scuffled over budget projections.
The argument happened after House Republican Brian DelGrosso of Loveland introduced House Joint Resolution 7, a measure that recommends cutting the state budget by $200 million (2.75 percent) in addition to the billion dollars that must already be cut.
DelGrosso argued that it is prudent to lower the budget target, telling the Durango Herald that the state was "consistently not hitting the mark" on budget projections over the last ten years.
Past problems with budget projections have forced the governor to make last-second cuts in the waning days of the fiscal year after the legislative session ends.
Most Democrats dismissed the non-binding measure as symbolic and arbitrary. "Vote however you want on this because at the end of the day it does nothing to balance the budget," Mark Ferrandino of Denver told the Herald.
Nonetheless, Democrats responded by proposing resolutions that would have exempted veterans from resultant cuts, and required any excess revenue to be directed toward education. Republican House Speaker Frank McNulty ruled both out-of-order.
McNulty then muted the microphone of Democrat Randy Fischer after he accused the Speaker of lacking 'decorum.' (See Video Here)
Fisher told the Pueblo Chieftain that he'd never seen Democrats cut off a Representative's microphone on the House floor.
6 of the 32 Democrats in the House ultimately joined all 33 Republicans in approving the resolution. It now faces grim prospects in the Democrat-controlled Senate.