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.