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Last updated 7:34PM ET
December 11, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Isgar Eyes 2008 Legislative Session
(2008-01-07)
Hesperus Democrat 6th District State Senator Jim Isgar. (Photo: Colorado Legislative Site)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Southwest Colorado's two state lawmakers and others from across the state will have a lot on their plates Wednesday when they begin the 120 day 2008 legislative session.
Today in the first of two reports, we hear from Democrat State Senator Jim Isgar of Hesperus.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

ISGAR: IT WAS ONE OF THE BUSIEST SUMMERS IF NOT THE BUSIEST SUMMER I'VE EVER HAD.
VICTOR: 6th District Colorado State Senator Jim Isgar says the job of being a state senator has become full time.
ISGAR: PEOPLE THINK THAT WHEN WE'RE OUT OF SESSION BETWEEN MAY AND JANUARY, WE DON'T HAVE MUCH TO DO.
In addition to serving on 12 committee's or task forces, and attending their various meetings, Isgar this summer spent three weeks in Boston as part of a Harvard Executive Leadership Program.
He also participated in National Energy Council Leadership events in Chile, China and Canada.
He carried or co-sponsored close to 30-senate and house bills last year.
And says he expects to be just as busy, if not more so, this session.
Governor Bill Ritter's identified Health Care, Education and Transportation as key issues facing lawmakers.
Isgar agrees they're important but questions how much progress lawmakers will be able to make in addressing them.
ISGAR: THEY'RE ALL DIFFICULT AND THEY'RE ALL GOING TO TAKE A NEW SOURCE OF FUNDING PROBABLY TO MAKE THEM WORK. IT'S LIMITED AS TO HOW MUCH YOU CAN DO WITH ANY ONE OF THOSE. ALL THE PLANS I'VE LOOKED AT ALL INVOLVE CONSIDERABLE INVESTMENT BUT THERE'S PIECES WE MAY TRY TO DO , THAT'S GOING TO BE A LOT OF THE DEBATE.
Overshadowing those discussions, Isgar says, will probably be a start of discussions on what happens when the time out on referendum C expires in 2 years.
Reference C, approved by voters in 2005, allows the state to keep excess revenue rather than rebate it back as required under TABOR.
ISGAR: CURRENTLY A LOT OF THAT REVENUE IS GOING TO CAPITAL CONSTRUCTION AND TRANSPORTATION BUT AFTER THE TIME OUT ENDS, THEN A LOT OF THAT WILL START FLOWING BACK TO THE VOTERS, AND YOU KNOW WHAT WE'VE HEARD FROM A LOT OF THEM IS THAT THEY'D RATHER THAT WE COULD PROVIDE SOME OF THESE SERVICES LIKE HEALTH CARE, AND EDUCATION AND TRANSPORTATION SO WE HAVE TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO GO ABOUT DOING THAT.
Isgar says he'll personally be involved in severance tax legislation and, as he has been for years, in water issues, both of which could be contentious.
He says it's still not clear how many bills he personally will sponsor in the senate, but expects several will address water issues.
One measure he will sponsor would change medicaid reimbursement rates for nursing homes.
ISGAR: SOME OF OUR PRIMARILY SMALL RURAL NURSING HOMES DON'T GET NEAR THE PER DAY REIMBURSEMENT THAT SOME OF THE BIGGER HOMES GET. IT'S REALLY NOT FAIR. THEY'VE BEEN USING COST BASE REIMBURSEMENT WHICH ON THE SURFACE SEEMS LIKE A GOOD WAY TO DO IT BUT OVER TIME THAT'S BECOME VERY DISTORTED. IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE THAT SOME HOMES RECEIVE TWICE THE DAILY REIMBURSEMENT THAT OTHERS DO, SO THIS HAS BEEN AN ONGOING PROCESS FOR TWO YEARS. WE FINALLY HAVE A SENATE STUDY THAT COMES UP WITH A NEW RATE STRUCTURE.
Isgar also plans to carry a bill to clean up the Conservation Tax Credit program.
Abuses of the program, which allow landowners to put development rights into a land trust in return for tax credits, have allowed some to reap huge windfalls.
He'll also sponsor a bill to clarify licensing for the Durango Crossroads Mental Health Facility, as well as several other bills stemming from his work on the state audit committee.
Isgar says he looks forward to the sesssion, he expects a lot will be done, and the session will include lots of politics since it is an election year.
Isgar is in the second year of his second full elected four year term, and can't seek a third term.
Next year, he'll be the most senior senator in the Colorado Legislature.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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