Colorado budget-writing lawmakers gave initial approval to a 3 percent salary increase for state workers amid Republican opposition.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed next year’s budget for Colorado on Monday, a spending plan that includes more funding for public schools, pay raises for state workers, and money to expand mental health services.
Last-minute tangling on next year’s budget cost Colorado Democrats Republican support Friday, when a Democratic budget writer questioned whether $3 million for scholarships could benefit students in the country illegally.
Next year’s budget for Colorado has passed the state Senate with funding increases for public schools, higher education, and money for construction projects at colleges and state buildings.
The improving economy is giving Colorado lawmakers the power to restore budget cuts from recent years, and the Democrat-led Senate gave an initial OK to next year’s spending plan on Wednesday.
The improving economy and increasing tax receipts are allowing Colorado lawmakers to fund more programs as they prepare to vote on next year’s budget.
Democrats have consolidated control of both chambers and the governor’s office, and the 2013 session could see a flurry of legislation after two years of divided control, tight budgets and little significant change.
Colorado’s budget situation is improving, but it’s still worse than before the recession.
Colorado lawmakers don’t finish work for the year until Wednesday. But their biggest task could be complete by the end of the day.
The unusually jovial tone of Colorado’s state budget debate is continuing in the Senate, where lawmakers are closer to signing off on the $7.4 billion spending plan.