Hickenlooper repeats cautious optimism on budget

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DENVER (AP) -- Gov. John Hickenlooper says lawmakers should remain cautious while preparing the state budget because Colorado's economic recovery could be impacted by federal and worldwide forces.

The Democratic governor made the comments Wednesday while presenting his proposed budget for next year to the state's Joint Budget Committee. He told them possible federal cuts over sequestration and Europe's debt crisis are risks to the state economy.

Hickenlooper's spending proposal includes more funding for schools, colleges, Medicaid, and the first pay raise in five years for state workers. The general fund that lawmakers control will grow to $8.1 billion next year, up from about $7.6 billion last year.

It's the first budget in years with no major cuts.

Hickenlooper unveiled the plan earlier this month, but this was his first presentation to lawmakers.

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