Denver (AP) - Debate on next year's state budget is set to begin Thursday in the senate.
Republican and Democratic lawmakers in the chamber say they want to avoid a proposed $300 million cut to higher education, but they haven't decided exactly how to do that yet.
The Joint Budget Committee has proposed restoring those cuts by taking $500 million from the surplus of Pinnacol Assurance. But the state-created workers' compensation company is fighting the move.
Lawmakers acknowledge that even if they succeed in taking the money, it could be tied up for a while in a court battle. Other options they're considering include furloughing state workers and imposing a state sales tax on cigarettes, which are now exempt.
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