HEADLINES : Colorado
Colorado budget nears final lap with excitement
DENVER-Colorado senators turned a final budget vote Thursday into a pep rally of sorts as lawmakers from both parties heaped praise on the $7.4 billion spending plan for next year.
The 30-5 Senate vote came after a nearly unanimous vote in the House. An improving economy has put more sales taxes and income taxes in state coffers, allowing lawmakers to reverse years of painful budget cutting.
Though budget writers still must rectify small differences before sending a final budget to the governor, the winners in the spending plan are clear. Seniors will see a revived property tax cut. Public schools aren't getting a cut-the first time since next year's seniors were in middle school.
Lawmakers also had enough money to stop raiding severance taxes paid by mining and drilling companies. Much of that money is designated for local governments, but through the recession state lawmakers have relied on severance taxes to balance the books. As a result, local communities lost upward of $50 million a year they could have used to repair sidewalks and local roads.