Denver (AP) _ Colorado lawmakers are unveiling their plan to
begin digging the state out of the budget hole created when the
state's economy slumped — and they're using money approved by
voters from their state tax surplus refunds. The 16–point–five (b) billion dollar budget represents a nearly six percent increase over last year's budget, buoyed by a strengthening economy and the decision by voters last year to give up four (b) billion dollars in tax surplus refunds over the next five years. The extra money will allow the state to increase base pupil funding for public education about three percent to more than 48–hundred dollars per student and set up a four–year plan to fully fund preschool.
Lawmakers say they also plan to use the tax surplus refunds to
eliminate health care waiting lists for developmentally disabled
children and adults, add five technicians at the Colorado Bureau of
Investigation to eliminate a 240–day wait for DNA analysis, and
add ten new water quality inspectors to test the quality of drinking water. Highways would get an additional one (b) billion dollars over
the next five years to help the state fix highways. The house is expected to vote on the budget later this week after considering amendments. The senate will vote on it next week.
(Copyright 2006 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.)