Owens' Budget Lists More Money For Colleges, Health Care

Denver (AP) The Associated Press has learned Governor Owens
will ask lawmakers Tuesday to boost spending on college stipends, transportation and child welfare by using the extra money that voters agreed to give the state. Voters approved Referendum C in November and agreed to give up $3.7 billion in tax surplus refunds over the next five years to fix problems with the state budget.

Budget officials say Owens will present lawmakers with a nearly $16 billion spending proposal that represents a 4.3% increase over last year's budget. That includes a 4.1% increase in the general fund using $505 million provided by Referendum C.

Owens is asking lawmakers to increase college stipends 7.5% to $2,580 dollars, approve $296 million for roads and bridges, and provide an extra 5.8%, or $29 million, to provide more money for child welfare, children with developmental disabilities and youth corrections. He also wants lawmakers to find $66 million to restore a property tax exemption for senior citizens that was suspended when the economy declined.

The governor says he will ask lawmakers to spend $10 million from severance taxes, provided by oil, gas and mineral extraction, to provide more money to help the poor heat their homes.

Copyright 2005 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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