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DENVER (AP) — The Colorado House will debate a $20.5 billion budget that includes increases for schools, colleges, and pay for state employees.

Next year’s proposed budget already cleared the Democrat-led Senate, but without Republican support.

The budget reflects small growth in the general fund, which consists of tax revenue and is the portion of spending that lawmakers control. General fund spending is expected to be at about $8.2 billion next year, compared to $7.6 billion in the current budget year. The fiscal year begins July 1.

Democrats say the improving economy is allowing lawmakers restore some cuts from recent years. But Republicans say spending is increasing faster than the economy.

The debate Thursday will set up an initial vote in the House.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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