From The Colorado Sun (John Frank):
Colorado lawmakers gave final approval Friday to a $30.5 billion state budgetpackage that includes $300 million for road projects, $175 million for full-day kindergarten and a 3% pay hike for all state employees.
The agreement on the spending plan that starts July 1 came after the budget writers found an extra $70 million for transportation as part of a deal with Republican lawmakers who threatened to obstruct the debate.
The additional dollars will come from a variety of sources, including $40 million out of two reserve accounts. The state’s push for full-day kindergarten took a $10 million cut because fewer students are expected to participate. And the remaining $20 million came from unspent dollars and minor accounting tweaks.
The original budget package allocated $230 million for roads. The new $300 million total — which will require additional legislation this session — would get split between the state and local governments for highway construction, mass transit projects and road maintenance. The total need for transportation in Colorado is estimated near $9 billion.
State Rep. Chris Hansen, a Denver Democrat and budget writer, said the budget package boosts spending in key areas, such as education and road building. “We are making historic investments across the areas we care about,” he told lawmakers…
The House approved the final budget bill by a 41-22 vote with only one Republican in support, state Rep. Lois Landgraf of Fountain. The Senate later voted 25-7 on the bill with a handful of Republican lawmakers in favor.
The budget bill now goes to Gov. Jared Polis for consideration. The governor has line-item veto authority to strike items in the budget bill.