DENVER (CBS4)– The Legislative Budget Committee has a balanced budget after slashing about $3 billion in spending at the state Capitol on Thursday.
As expected, education took a hit, but not as big as many expected. The committee cut K-12 education by $577 million. But one-time federal funding will offset most of that. In the end, K-12 will see about a $67 million reduction or less than 1%.
Higher education was cut 58% but it is also receiving federal funding that will bring the real reduction to about 5%.
The budget committee has also reduced funding for the BEST program which funds construction for rural schools and an educator loan forgiveness program meant to address the teacher shortage.
Nursing homes, childcare services, and nutritional benefits will see less money too. And a prison will be closed, the senior homestead tax exemption eliminated and the state’s contribution to the public employees’ pension fund reduced.
“You can make these sweeps or these transfers, you can really dig in the seat cushions, and that’s for this year. And then a lot of it is going to have to be revisited next year and that’s going to be difficult, too. There’s not a fund out there that someone can’t make a good case for, of why it’s more important now, to leave funding for this project or this program. They’re all worthwhile,” said Speaker of the House KC Becker.
The budget goes to the full state Legislature next week for its approval.