Gov. Bill Owens gave his final State of the State Address today. The text is here.

Colorado Democrats have responded, through Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald (D-Coal Creek Canyon). After the niceties of issues upon which they agree, Pres. Fitz-Gerald lays out the differences and the Democratic agenda. (received by e-mail, no link yet available.)

This year, the Democratic Majority is focusing on opportunity, security and accountability for all Coloradans. I believe we need to focus on the issues that affect all residents.

Among them is the need to lower the cost of healthcare through:

  • demanding transparency and consistency in medical billing.
  • providing basic health coverage for all children within the next five years.
  • demanding more accountability from the insurers

The second area Fitzgerald highlighted is education:

Governor Owens mentioned a desire to see the Colorado’s economy and jobs sector continue to grow. This vision depends on a commitment to quality education system for all students. This requires investing in our schools, from kindergarten to college. This means going beyond just restoring cuts made in previous years. Investing in colleges and universities is just good business sense. Higher paying jobs demand higher learning .

Fitzgerald also announced today the creation of the Senate Select Committee on Government Accountability. She said the Committee is the result of:

….the implementation of an under-functioning Colorado Benefits Management System, a critical February 2005 audit on contracting, a 2005 interim committee in which the Governor blocked directors of departments from testifying on contracting procedures, and the cancellation of two high-dollar, information systems contracts.

Senator Peter Groff concurs:

To have good government, we need to get rid of the bad contracts. ….The voters of the state entrusted us with additional taxdollars through Referendum C, and I am determined to have that money spent in an accountable way.

The initial committee members are Senator Peter Groff, Chair, Senator Deanna Hanna, Vice-Chair and Senator Dan Grossman.