In most states, the executive branch initiates the main appropriation bill for the ongoing operations of state government. Colorado, however, has a strong legislative budget process. The General Assembly's permanent fiscal and budget review agency, the Joint Budget Committee (JBC), sponsors the annual appropriations bill (called the "Long Bill") for the operations of state government.
The JBC has six members: the chairman and one majority and one minority member of the House Appropriations Committee, and the chairman and one majority and one minority member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Members serve two-year terms and are selected following the general election in the same manner as members of other standing committees. The JBC elects its own chairman and vice-chairman, one from the Senate membership and one from the House membership, for the first regular session. The chairman and vice-chairman exchange roles for the second regular session. The House and Senate calendars reflect the JBC's schedule during the legislative session.
The JBC is statutorily charged with analyzing the management, operations, programs, and fiscal needs of the departments of state government. The state Constitution requires a balanced budget. The JBC holds hearings and reviews the executive budget request and the budget requests submitted by each state agency and institution (including those submitted by the judicial department).