State Budget Plan Focuses Investments Instead Of Cuts

November 1, 2012 6:17 PM

State Budget Plan Focuses Investments Instead Of Cuts
" DENVER (AP) – Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s budget proposal released Thursday includes more funding for education, more Medicaid spending, and pay increases for state employees for the first time in five years.

The Democratic governor’s budget plan represents something the state hasn’t seen in years: no major cuts.

But Hickenlooper’s economists have emphasized a theme of cautious optimism. They point out that state’s economy is growing slowly, and that it has been boosted by taxes on one-time stock sales, not necessarily by more jobs.

“The Colorado economy is rebounding substantially, but we are still not there in total number of jobs,” said Henry Sobanet, the governor’s chief economist. Sobanet said the state has also benefited from savings lawmakers have made in previous years.

Still, Hickenlooper said the growing tax receipts “gives us the ability to restore some cuts and modestly increase funding in critical areas of the state’s budget.”

The state general fund that lawmakers have control over will grow to $8.1 billion next year, up from about $7.6 billion last year. The state’s total funds budget, which includes the general fund, cash funds and federal money, will be $21.9 billion. It’s $1.1 billion more than last year "

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