Colorado Leaders Huddle Over How To Spend Tax Surplus

Denver (AP) The polls haven't even been closed 24 hours, but Democrats and Republicans are already disagreeing on how to spend an extra $3.7 billion that voters approved in Tuesday's election. With 99 percent of the expected statewide vote counted, Referendum C passed by a margin of 52 to 48 percent.

The measure allows Colorado to keep money that would normally be returned to residents under the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights. Republican Governor Bill Owens says the money should be used to shore up transportation, fix crumbling schools, hold down college tuition hikes, and strengthen police and fire pensions, but Democrats say the state should restore Medicaid programs, and help create jobs that will help people help themselves.

Owens is predicting a "spirited debate" over how to spend the money when lawmakers return to the legislature in January. He says the money will be spent as voters were promised, restoring programs that've been cut the past three years.

Copyright 2005 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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