What You'll Be Missing Out On Thanks to the State Budget Slashing

April 17 2009, 9:17 AM

ferrandino-markAgreeing on a budget wasn't easy for state lawmakers. First they considered deep cuts to colleges and universities, sparking protest. Then they nearly raided the coffers of the quasi-government entity that assures worker's compensation payments, igniting protest. But yesterday, in what the Colorado Springs Gazette calls a "rare victory" for bipartisanship, the state House approved a budget that spreads the pain by combining $80 million in cuts with $200 million in revenue increases to avoid a $300 million deficit. Two-thirds of state lawmakers voted to declare the budget situation a "fiscal emergency" in order to lay claim to $30 million in tobacco taxes for "health-related purposes," writes the Vail Daily, which points out the millions of dollars that have been sliced from programs such as tourism promotion, local government grants, and online library services--as well as a $90 million cut from a property tax exemption for seniors. State workers will be required to take eight days of furlough that is expected to save a total of $16 million, according to the Pueblo Chieftain. Representative Mark Ferrandino, a Denver Democrat, says the hardest cut for him was slashing $27 million in provider rates to pay for Medicaid insurance for the poor, according to the Denver Daily News. House Speaker Terrance Carroll, a Democrat, and House Minority Leader Mike May, a Republican, noted their parties were in rare agreement over this year's budget, writes The Denver Post. The budget requires a final House vote today and then returns to the Senate for approval.